25 August 2013

Day 7

Nashville to Louisville to Mt Vernon

"This is my command- be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9

The Route

Mom & Dad, Hubs & I joined the body of Christ at Harpeth Hills Church of Christ this morning. A man whose name I’m unsure of, but can be adequately identified as Connor’s Dad, spoke this morning of his family’s struggle through the death of his son. He made us repeat several times and in several ways that God is Good All the Time, All the Time God is Good. “So, then why did God let my son die?” He pushed on by saying that you learn a lot about living in the dying. He spoke candidly of his anger at God and his questions of God. He taught a new perspective on Job and about pain being shaped by faith, not erased by it. He talked about his life being recalibrated, his perspective being refined, and the differences experienced before and after his son’s passing. His definition of a bad day was transformed, his pain meter was altered, what he spent money on restructured, recycling became irrelevant, and the illusion of control exposed. Saying “we’ll do it later” suddenly seemed arrogant. In our pain, church can be lonely, family can be disconnected, and prayers can be answered in ways we didn’t want. Connor’s mom & dad conceded to the ministry of trafficked children in Ghana. Showing a picture of a rescued child wearing a t-shirt with the logo for the organization, Connor’s Song, this sweet, struggling man spoke of the pride he feels seeing a child bearing the image of his son and challenged us to never take lightly praying in the name of Jesus. Through tears, he spoke of joy in knowing the redemption of others found in the wake of his personal tragedy. He knows God is never tired of seeing us bear the image of His Son and is never soothed of seeing us hurt. He has delivered us by the blood of Jesus, so let us recognize the sacredness of bearing His image and speaking His name. There is suffering & sacrifice in that name. Connor’s dad pleaded with us to give thanks for daily bread and, “Surrender to the Rescue”. His testimony was heavy and healing. It is one of those things you walk away from and can’t quite shake.

We left the building and went straight to Maw Maw & Popey’s for the Thompson / Hopkins Sunday lunch. The food, a “Best Of Maw Maw’s” compilation was so delicious. You know how you expect something to be awesome, and while it’s not surprising when it actually is exactly as awesome as you thought it would be, it totally is surprising at the same time? Maw Maw’s lunch is one of those “normal” events that is “home” for us- one of those that leaves you in danger of taking it for granted, but the sentiment of knowing it’s not the norm anymore reveals its utter glory. I already mentioned that MM & Popey had moved out of the house they had built and lived in for 27 years, but Sunday lunch isn’t a place. We missed having Shannon & Sophie there this time, but Sunday lunch is the fellowship of family & food that brings us all together. Needless to say, I boo-hooed and hugged both MM & Popey at least three times each on the way out.

Out Front at the New Place

Our last minutes at Mom & Dad’s and our last stop at Lea Anne’s was a packing & loading detail for our long haul to come. Our goodbyes weren’t super tearful or dramatic- more of a “see-you-soon, call-me-tonight” kind of thing.

So, we left Nashville and hurried into Louisville to join a cheering crowd in downtown. We arrived and waited for our athlete after updates from Kari and my dad who were tracking his progress throughout the day. After a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, and 26.2-mile marathon, Hubs’ dad, Mike, is an Iron Man. Last night, at 54-years-old, he finished his first triathlon.

Finish Line on Fourth Street
The Last Leg
Hubs is so Proud!
Iron Mike with Me & Jess

See Pictures of Mike at Ironman Louisville 2013 by clicking this link: My Photos | FinisherPix

Once again, I implore you, IT IS NEVER TOO LATE. You guys. Andrew’s parents are strapping on the boots of bravery (or rather backpacks & tri-bikes) to do things they’ve never done, and maybe never thought they’d do. But they decided to do it, and they did. I don’t think they realize how inspiring they are. They aren’t the first to take those steps across that college campus or across that finish line, but you don’t have to be a trailblazer to be influential. You don’t have to have your stuff figured out. You don’t have to know what you’re doing or if you even can. If they can, we can. You just have to have the courage to choose the direction you want to go and take the first step. Both Lea Anne & Mike were nervous, and it’s a struggle take the class and train for the race. But they are proud because they are doing it and are enjoying the journey. So, sign-up, volunteer, go to that event, apply for the job, or drive that trip to Alaska. Face the fear, say you’re sorry, fight for what / who you love. Take the first step. Raise the white flag. Surrender to the rescue. It’s not too late.

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