Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Running the Race

Last week can be summed up in one word....busy!  I don't believe that much of anything around housework was started much less completed!  I had deadlines, meetings, appointments, etc.--all good stuff! Then, I left before the crack of dawn on Saturday morning for a half- marathon (13.1 miles) in Columbia.  It was a beautiful but windy day all over the south! The gun sounded and away we went. The first seven miles were amazing! I was running faster than I needed to be, but that was ok--I knew that there were hills and lots of them coming up around the corner.  Hills are not friends to most runners!  And, Child #1 was going to meet me with a few miles left and run me in over the hardest part of the course--if he remembered to set his alarm and roll out of bed! The race course finished a few feet away from his dorm at USC.

Several hours further south in Savannah, Ga., many of my friends were toeing the line for a marathon (26.2 miles).  One of my closest friends and running partner, Phebe, was there as well. She was going to be running with a dear friend of ours, Tom, from church. Phebe's husband and Tom's wife were going to meet them at mile 25 and run with them to the finish. 

My race finished up, and we had gone to grab a sandwich and tea for lunch.  While my friend, Ginnie, and I were eating, my cell phone rang. I saw that it was Phebe.  I knew that she had finished the marathon and would give me all of the details.  But, these were details that I never expected to hear.....ever. It's really hard to even type this a few days later.  Phebe was sobbing when I answered the phone. Trying to process what she was saying, I heard "Tom," "collapsed" and "not good."  Tom had been running with her and pacing her throughout the race. Tom is a faster runner than both of us.  He was not struggling with the pace.  He had prepared for this race.  He is a great athlete--runner and cyclist.  Tom is 58 years old and in amazing shape. At mile 23, he stopped to adjust his knee brace, and Phebe kept going. She turned to see if he was coming and watched him collapse to the ground. She rushed to him shouting for help....paramedics were 50 feet away. A nurse running the course stopped and stayed with her and prayed with her. They took Tom to the hospital in one ambulance, and Phebe rode in another. She called Tom's wife and told her that Tom had collapsed and was on the way to the hospital. 

Deep prayer filled our table at lunch miles away. I called my husband and our minister. I texted a friend who was at the race in Savannah waiting on her husband to finish. She was able to go to the hospital to be with them. Then, the phone call came from Phebe. Tom didn't make it. While running the longest physical race he had ever run, he completed the spiritual race of life. He literally ran into the arms of Jesus. Jesus was waiting for him at the finish line.

Y'all, we are all still in shock. All of our community. We know that God is good and has a plan and a purpose for us all. He also has a kingdom calendar. Tom has a new birthday on it now....November 5, 2011.  Enjoy every minute that God has given you here with your family and friends. We are not promised that all of our time here will be easy....we live in a fallen world. But, we have hope in Christ!  I would simply ask that you cover Cindy, Tom's wife and my sweet friend, and her family in your prayers. Also, please, please keep Phebe in prayer as well.

"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on the day--and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing."  2Timothy 4:7-8

Sweet blessings,
Susan

16 comments:

Susan Panzica - EternityCafe said...

Susan,
I will surely be praying for the family. Your perspective provides hope - he ran into the arms of Jesus.

My son is running a Tough Mudder race on Sunday. If it comes to mind, would you pray for him? It's a grueling race.

Blessings,
Susan

Sonja said...

I just saw this new posting Susan and came over to read it. I am so sad to hear about this. It has to be such a shock to everyone. But you also said it so well...

"He also has a kingdom calendar. Tom has a new birthday on it now....November 5, 2011."

God knew that on Nov. 5th, 2011 Tom would run right into His arms. He just got there before we did.

Praying for his family, for God's special grace and comfort.

xo

Gotta Run..Gotta Ride said...

Just last night we were all talking about this while cycling with friends. It can happen anytime to any of us. So sorry to hear that is was someone close to you (trying to figure out if I know him)but I do have 100% faith that God had him at the very moment that he went down.

Sweet...sweet hugs to you Susan!

Empty Nest Full Life said...

I have prayed for you, and the family both. I know it had to have been such a shock! It is a reminder to me that life is precious. Have a blessed weekend. Jackie

Harry "Harrying" Ferrari said...
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Paragon Transport said...
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Easy Official said...
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Mari said...

So sorry to hear about your friend's loss. At least she knows Tom is with Jesus. I know that may not comfort her now, but in days ahead it will. Will be praying for you and Cindy and the families affected by Tom's homegoing.

Life Everlasting said...
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kevin21 said...
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thistlewoodfarm said...
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Mary Singer Wick said...

Praying for all who knew Tom to draw near to Jesus for comfort. What an incredible reminder for all of us to be prepared every day to meet our Maker. I know this will be a tough holiday for those who knew and loved Tom. Your post is a wonderful tribute, Susan. Tom is rejoicing with God in heaven. Hope you are well. Merry Christmas.

Malenadu said...
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On Purpose said...

Lifting you Susan and your family and friend up in prayer. Knowing our God to be faithful to meet all your needs. Hugs!

kevin21 said...
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kevin21 said...
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