Category Archives: friendship

Faith in Humanity? Restored.

So, have you ever gone through a phase in life where the drama, lack of compassion, and disrespect that surrounds you (either directly or indirectly) leaves you wondering what’s happened to this thing called humanity? Or even one of those tough days that make you want to put yourself in time out so you can leave people behind for awhile?

(Surely I am not the only one … right?!)

Anyway, if that describes or has ever described you, I want to share with you something that has quickly restored my faith in humanity – and even more than that, it fills me with hope and encouragement daily as I get to witness the constant compassion, love, and caring of strangers at work.

What, you may wonder, am I talking about?  Well, it’s an organization called IRUN4, and came about when its founder, Tim Boyle, started running and received a reply on Facebook from a friend Michael saying, “You can run for me anytime.”  You see, Michael has Down Syndrome and bilateral hip dysplasia – and cannot run.  So Tim runs for him.  Read more about their story here: http://www.whoirun4.com/i-run-for/.

With those six words and Tim’s dedicated steps, a movement was birthed.  IRUN4 (IR4) is all about the questions, “Who do you run for?”  Runners are matched with a buddy, whether it be an adult or child, and then then their runners dedicate their running miles (or their workouts) to their buddies, posting updates several times a week on the organization’s facebook page.  In the meantime, the other runners and buddy families are also offering support and encouragement to the posts on the page. Prayer requests are made and instantly responses begin flooding in, with runners dedicating extra miles to those requests, too. Buddy families often post too, offering encouragement to their runner friends before a big race or providing a glimpse into their daily live and events.  I spent a while scrolling though the page when I first joined it, and was in tears within minutes – not from sadness, but just because I was struck by the beauty and sincerity of the communication there. This movement is quite simply people at their best.

It’s a powerful circle of inspiration, really – The runner’s buddy gains inspiration and encouragement from regular Facebook posts about the miles run in their honor.  But the runner benefits too – they have a buddy cheering them on and an ongoing sense of purpose and gratitude for the ability to get out there and run.  What better motivation can there be to get out there and run when you don’t feel like it than the reminder that there are those who cannot, and who are waiting to hear from you?  And even more than that, both runner and buddy become a family of sorts and share a tight bond – amazing, considering that runners and buddies do not know one another before being matched! Another huge gain of this movement is awareness – with matches being made across the country (or even internationally), awareness of a multitude of disabilities increases via that runner/buddy bond as well as in the posts made on the Facebook page.

It’s hard to believe this movement only started a little over a year ago! They hit the 10,000 member mark last week and currently have 1600+ runners waiting to be matched with a buddy.  Did you hear that?  1600+!!  As of Saturday, I was number 1306 on the list.  I have about 9 weeks or so to wait before I get a buddy, because they actually have far more runners signing up than buddies so far.  (Know someone who’d be inspired by this? Please share!)  Part of me is fundamentally sad that there are enough people with disabilities to ever GET to me at 1306 on the list, but realistically I know there are so many thousands more.  So while I wait, I will do as so many others do, and dedicate my miles to the prayer list and my future buddy.

So what can you do?  Well if you run, sign up to inspire and be inspired!  If you know someone who would benefit from being matched up with a runner, point them toward IR4. It’d be so great to see news of IR4 start circling throughout some of the parent support groups for children with disabilities!  What an amazing place to encourage and be encouraged!

Where should you go? 
Their website: http://www.whoirun4.com/
Their FB page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/irunformichael/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/whodoUrun4

Yes, this particular discovery is primarily targeted toward two audiences: 1) runners and 2) people with disabilities – both children and adults.  HOWEVER, hear me clearly … even though that’s the primary focus of this one, it is proof of how many huge-hearted people there are out there, and I know that it replicates itself in so many ways and in so many places every day.  Take a moment and look around you for it – where do you see it at work in and around your life?  If you can’t find it, how can you spark it?

IRUN4 my future buddy … what about you?
sheryl3

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Anybody Out There?

I sit here, not even sure why I chose tonight to open up a new post and revisit this, my good old friend and blog.  And after more than 6 months away, I’m pretty sure the blank page that sits before me now also reflects the empty walls onto which I’ll cast my words now and wait as they echo back to me from their lonely cavern….

But I’m here, because I need to be here.  The last six months have been tough in so many ways.  Even as I say that, my head hangs in shame as I think of all those who have it so much worse than me, who have truly devastating situations or tragedies.  I should be stronger. I should be more grateful. I should be able to juggle things better.

But that’s kind of my point … I should … but I can’t.

And that’s a tough lesson for me to swallow.  I set the plates spinning and dash amongst them – and if that’s not enough, usually I’m trying to juggle a dozen balls at the same time, all without missing a beat.

Oddly, I usually manage to keep it together – I was built to multi-task and to be busy all the time. I just do better that way.  (Do you hear the “but” coming?)

BUT…I can’t keep it together all by myself.  I can’t get so tuned into the music of the spinning plates and the rhythm of the balls hitting my palms in mid-flight that I tune out the rest of life’s symphony.

What symphony?
People.
Church.
Rest.
Peace.
Time to laugh, time to be, time to give.
Relationships.
The little moments that keep our hope and faith buoyant.
Conversations that mean something.
Taking care of myself – because I’m worth that much.

You see, when I focus hard on the spinning and juggling, I tend to tune out everything else.  I shut myself off from everyone.  Usually it’s gradual enough that people don’t notice – slowly I manage to just disappear from the picture … gone AND forgotten.

But I’ve had to admit something this week, and that’s the reality that even if not deliberate or conscious, I still CHOOSE to shut myself off… and why?  Because what if I don’t and, in the mist of the spinning & juggling chaos, I show my real vulnerability … and find myself rejected?  What if I find out that what I spent so much time fearing is the truth – I’m not good enough?

Yet we’re not meant to be islands. God CREATED us for fellowships, for relationships.  Removed from it, we begin to wither – our very souls hunger and thirst for the nourishment that only comes from community. So before long, some of the balls start to drop and the plates start to crash. I should be able to do better … but I can’t.  And that’s because I’m not living my daily life, intentionally resting in God, His promises, and His design for me.  I may be tiptoeing through it in the same direction, but under my own steam – and that’s not how He created us to live.

The funniest part of this is that, even after 6 months, it all comes back to the very beginnings of this blog when I shared my desire to come before you here and be genuine … somehow I’ve convinced myself that shutting myself off still fulfills that goal, both here and in “real life” because I’m not putting forth falsehood – I’m merely not stopping in to say hello and check in.  I can see you shaking your head in disagreement, and you’re right to do that.  You can’t claim to be genuine if you don’t give your whole self, no matter what and no matter when.  That doesn’t mean you have to be an open book about anything and everything – but slipping on that invisibility cloak so you simply fade from fellowships of any sort is not a trait of a life lived in truth.

And, of course, it also comes back to that one word that I knew God laid on my heart for the year: depend.  Oh my, the lessons I have learned about depending in the past six months!! Maybe someday soon I’ll share some of those with you. But even while I’ve learned about depending in some ways, I’ve missed the boat in another. What about the dependence of community?  The chance to let somebody come along us and give a few plates a spin so we can catch our breath?  The team to come set the juggling in motion in a beautiful, intricate pattern we could never imagine producing all by ourselves?

So I sit here, ashamed, knowing I’ve let you down, I’ve let my circles of fellowship down, I’ve let myself down, I’ve let God down.  It’s a mighty weight to feel the burden of so much disappointment … yet oh, how clear God’s voice rings through with His reminders of mercy and grace.  God’s working on me and in me. I don’t have it all figured out and I’m not really sure what the next step is on the path yet. But I know the step I was supposed to take tonight was to step back into this little community, let the words echo around – and hopefully they’ll find an ear or two who’s still around to listen.

And if you do, I want to leave you focused not on my futile spinning and juggling, but on this beautiful song, one that resonates in my heart and soul. May God bless you through it today: