I wanted to write this months ago, but I didn’t have the words. I thought about including it in my year-end post, but knew it deserved more than a few sentences.
When others live like it matters and touch our lives in significant ways it’s important to tell them. Each month in 2019, I will write a post about those who live like it matters. I may write about a person or a group of people. I might know them personally or observe from afar. They may be long time friends or a recently found kindred spirit.
For this first ever edition of Here’s to You, I chose a friend. We got to know each other even better as we trained and traveled together for our Spartan races. Pam’s one of my newer friends – I’ve known her for almost four years – but oh is she a good one. Here’s to you, Pam.
I included a few details about my Spartan Trifecta in my year-end post, but I didn’t write about why I decided to complete one in 2018. I planned only to motivate family members and run one race with them. But a conversation with friends on our way home from the hospital sparked something inside us.
Our friend was sick. Really sick. We couldn’t believe it. Everyone was shocked by the cancer diagnosis. She is one of the strongest women we know. She’d finished her longest Spartan Race in December 2017 and six months later was in the hospital. Her active, healthy lifestyle, and her grit and determination made her one of the toughest ones on our Spartan team. Her faith and love made her a true friend.
Pam began feeling remarkably fatigued weeks into 2018. One Saturday morning she and I were on our usual route, when she told me she needed to stop running and walk instead. We’d been running and working out together for a couple of years and I always worked extra hard to keep up with her pace.
Over the next several months she went back and forth to numerous doctors trying to figure out what was wrong with her body.
When she and her family found out she had cancer they rallied together for weeks in the hospital, waiting and praying for answers. What kind of cancer? What do treatment options look like? What now?
I don’t know what I expected when we visited her at the hospital the first time. It was difficult to see our friend so weak, but we also saw amazing love, hope, courage, and determination to find answers and fight the cancer as hard as they could. I’m certain fear and doubt were in the mix and I know they were exhausted. But the light of their love and faith was brighter.
On our way home from the hospital we talked about how fast it all happened. She was strong and healthy and running long races. Then she wasn’t. The fragility of life weighed heavy on our hearts. Though we didn’t make the plans that evening, thoughts about running more races began. We started training hard in July, completed two races in September, and our third for the Trifecta in November. Pam inspired us to do what she wanted to do….what she still hopes to do, and cheered us on in it.
Early in their journey of waiting for answers, when they could barely see beyond the next few seconds, her husband asked God for ten more minutes. “Give us ten more minutes with her, God. Get us through the next ten minutes.”
They praised God for ten minutes and asked Him for ten more. The necessary hope of ten more minutes got them through the long days and the lingering weeks at the hospital. It got them through the time it took for treatment to make her feel better and stronger.
God gave it and much more. Now, they’re enjoying the time. Still loving and hoping, laughing and working. Planning, traveling, praying, and fighting the cancer the best way they know how. They’re still living.
To Pam and her husband, Mike – thank you for living out an unshakable trust in the One who gives us ten more minutes. Thank you for showing us what it looks like to live out real faith, without all the answers. Thank you for not pretending it’s easy and letting us in on the struggle.
Thank you for living like it matters.