I wanted to get this post out on my birthday as it feels in keeping with how I want to mark and begin this new year. In some ways, I’m placing a stake in the ground of Hope. I’m currently down for the count with COVID (it was a matter of time, but Holy Week for a clergy family, really?!) and I’ve also been nursing a hamstring injury to health. I’m not running in the way I’d expected to be right now. But…”faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things unseen…”
When my mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, we were shocked. It didn’t run in her family. She was so young. This wasn’t the path we’d planned, especially after my father’s death to cancer eight years ago.
Alzheimer’s can feel like the great thief, slowly and stealthily taking away memories…it can seem a cloud cover hanging over each effort at connection. But as our family grieves the changes my mom has handled with such grace and strength, God is opening my eyes afresh to some promises.
What is most true and beautiful in our beloved can never be taken away.
Any memories, understanding, and knowledge now hidden are safely tucked in the chambers of God’s heart, waiting for reemergence in light and love on eternity’s shoreline.
Though we may forget, God always remembers.
Though we may feel lost, we are always found.
There can be peace even here.
Running has been a lifeline companion for me since childhood. It’s one place I turn to find myself, to find God. For the last twenty-five years, my greatest joys and sorrows have been kneaded into the soles of my running shoes.
The last marathon I ran was the Boston Marathon of 2013. I was two blocks away from the bombs going off as I met my husband and parents in the family meeting area. I wrote about that experience here.
I knew if and when I ran another marathon, it would need to be for something and someone bigger than me. These recent years have created a crucible I never would have chosen, between the pandemic and all the personal upheaval in our family. And yet, when life feels like an enormous tidal wave, ready to take you out to sea, this is the time to grab the hands of those you love and let those waters come, trusting the One who speaks over waters.
With your support, my brother, sister-in-law, and I will all run Chicago Marathon together this fall. I am running for my mom, but I am running for every single person I love whose heart holds the ache of an Alzheimer’s-touched life.
I will be keeping a list of people and stories as I train. If you have a loved one who had or has Alzheimer’s, I would be so blessed and honored if you would share their name with me that I might run for them. And for you.
All money raised will benefit the Alzheimer’s Association and its work to enhance care, support programs, and research toward treatment and an eventual cure (Please, Jesus!) for Alzheimer’s disease.
To visit my fundraising page for ALZ stars, go here.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
“Though I know nothing else,
still let me know you.
And if a morning dawns
when I can no longer name you
or remember to call you,
be more immediately present to me then
than my own confusion, than my own breath.
Be to me a peace and a light
and an abiding sense that I am loved and held
and that all will be well.”
( From “A liturgy for those facing the slow loss of memory,” in Every Moment Holy by Douglas Kaine McKelvey)