Saturday, September 3, 2022

2022 "Tri a Try for Hospice" Triathlon Race Report

Life usually goes through periods. But every once in a while you experience an exclamation point. Today I had such an experience. I mean, life don't get any better than it did this morning. It all started late last night when I went online to check out upcoming triathlons in 2023 and begin to at least pencil in my races for next year. Lo and behold, but what did I see? A tri in Greensboro, NC, scheduled for today. I thought my tri's were done for the year, but I guess I was wrong. Check out the fancy venue. 

No hoi polloi allowed here! And I LOVE outdoor pools for the swimming leg of the race. 

But here's the absolute BEST part. The race was hosted by an organization called AuthoraCare Hospice. 

Thanks to the generous support of the owners of the county club where the event was held, 100 percent of all proceeds went directly to those needing financial aid to pay for their loved one's hospice care in the greater Greensboro area. When I saw that, I knew I would HAVE to participate. 

The weather was ideal for a race. As we waited for the swim leg to begin, I thought about my own experience with hospice. 

You see, it was exactly 9 years ago that I placed Becky in hospice care here in the master bedroom of our home. Her 4-year long fight with endometrial cancer had come to a conclusion. It was time to face the end. She was to last for only two months, but those were months that provided a rich context for a demonstration of trust. Job had very little to say, yet he kept on talking to God. Suffering was the proof of the reality of his faith. He showed the world that there are those who do exactly as God commands no matter what the circumstances are. Becky and I sought to do the same. 

The kids helped a great deal. Never a day went by when they were not here to love and serve us. Even in her weakened state, we wanted Becky to know that she was precious to us and to all who loved her. And then she was gone. My beloved wife of 37 years had finally, and with relief, passed from this life into the next. 

The hospice nurses had been wonderful. They were extraordinarily helpful. At AuthoraCare, nobody is turned away for financial reasons. This ministry is partly subsidised by races like today's. As we stood there for the awards ceremony, the crowd was asked, "How many of you have had a loved one in hospice care?" 

I'd say that about half the hands went up. As mine went up, I committed myself again to God, surrendering all my plans and hopes to him, to be his forever. I asked him to work out his perfect will in my life, at any cost. The tears, the loneliness, the pain will one day be exchanged for wholeness. This is why we can sing, even about death, as Job did. 

As if he hadn't already done enough for me today, the Lord gave me first place in my age group at the awards ceremony. I think that's called icing on the cake. You see, at the age of 70, I know it's too late in life to begin again. But I also know that in the years since Becky died, I've become a more positive person, concentrating on the good in life rather than wasting time concentrating on divisive issues or grievances. I can only hope that this is the message I convey to those who read my blog.