I’m a pretty tough chick. Not tough in the leather pants/tattoo kind of way, but physically and mentally tough. I’ve prepared for events that I never thought would be possible( think Warrior, Gladiator, marathons, triathlons, etc.), and I’ve learned to have a thick skin from moving every four years as a kid (try moving from New York to California as a Sophomore in High School!). But nothing can prepare you for how tough hearing the words cancer can be. But even tougher is going to be the journey.
I’m not going to get all cliché on you, and begin to compare this journey to training for and completing a marathon. That’s been done over and over again. So I’m going a different route…a much more muddy, hilly, frigid, shocking, terrifying route that allowed me to conquer fears and finish the race set out for me. Isn’t that what it’s all about anyways? “And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” Hebrews 12:1-2
You see I’m talking about Tough Mudder. Twelve miles of extreme obstacles, from electroshock therapy to arctic enema, to trench warfare, walk the plank to hanging tough. Don’t forget about the double black diamond slopes that we had to tredge up as well. This event was aptly named. It is tough…and I’m one Tough Mudder. Did I fail to mention that we needed to sign a death waiver to participate? Just sayin’. I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that the obstacles too were aptly named. Electroshock therapy required you to walk through a forest of hanging electric wires with up to 10,000 volts of electricity. This was the one obstacle I swore I wouldn’t do. I’ve been shocked before, and it wasn’t a pleasant feeling(plus, it really messes up your hair ;)). But in the heat of the event, and surrounded by my teammates, the Mudalicious Mama’s, I succumbed to the pressure and faced my fear. I got slightly shocked, but it was nothing compared to some of the people lying on the ground bouncing like they had stuck their finger into an electric socket, and weren’t able to pull it out. Plus, it was at the finish line and I’m not a quitter. I wasn’t about to walk around it with everyone watching! The other event that concerned me just slightly (OK, I was freaking out) was the arctic enema. You see, I’m not one for cold water. I did a triathlon once in 55 degree water and nearly had to be dragged out because I couldn’t catch my breath. So, needless to say I was not happy about any of the cold water events. And, this was definitely cold…mountain runoff cold. But, once again I faced my fears. And, one by one, my teammates and I conquered each obstacle, no matter how hard they were. We were going to walk, crawl or climb our way to the finish line, regardless of the mental or physical barricades placed in our way. When it was all over (almost 4.5 hours later) and we crossed that finish line battered and bruised, we did so with arms raised and smiles on our dirty faces, amazed that we had done it. We were given a bright orange headband to wear with pride(and a beer J). Really, every race should end with a beer!
And that my friends, is how I’m going to tackle cancer. I’m going to get shocked, and I’m going to have to walk the plank a time or two. In the midst of my proton radiation and chemo, I may feel like I’m embattled in trench warfare, but I will always hang tough. And, who knows, I may even need an arctic enema or two…sorry, I had to go there J I will do whatever it takes to beat this. I will walk, crawl or climb my way through it. But this time, there is no death waiver for me to sign. No bright orange headband for me to wear. This time, the finish line isn’t 4.5 hours away, it’s 7 weeks away. This time they told me death isn’t even an option (praise the Lord). This time I’m running this race wearing the armor of God. That, my friends, is how you run a race. And when I cross that finish line my face won’t be dirty (maybe a little dry), but my hands will most definitely be raised. This time they will be raised to the Lord who got me through it. I’m tough, but He’s much tougher. And for those obstacles that I just can’t finish on my own, I know the He will be there carrying me and strengthening me. After all, who could ask for a better teammate?
“But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.” 1 Thessalonians 5:7-9
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13