Thursday, March 31, 2011

Coast is clear

     I want to tell a personal story, one that has a lot of pain which I am sure you all have experienced in some degree. I know that life has its twists and turns, sometimes friendships go from sweet to sour and the roads that we travel can go from smooth and level to rocky and painful. The cold feeling of possible loneliness can challenge the best of hearts, leaving us with the all to often question of "Why?"

     That question can sometimes plague the strongest of hearts, even suck the very joy out of life. We feel that for some reason that everything must be perfect at all times or at the very least the suffering that we endure must be for someone else not for us. When I was growing up my mother taught me a profound lesson, one that I wish to share with you. I had the most jovial uncle around, he loved to laugh and play. Every time he came to my house he would catch me as I leaped off of the stairs. With open arms he would snatch me up and chuckle, then with the most loving kindness he would hug me and tell me that I was special to Him. One day he showed up at my house weeks later and I ran half way down the stairs, the excitement was amazing. I leaped into the air and he barely could hold me, with tears in his face he kissed my cheek and gently let me down. I looked deep into his eyes and I could see that his heart was breaking. My mother leaned over and whispered in my ear and said "Your uncle is sick and he can no longer catch you" that was the very moment as a child that I discovered suffering. Within two years my uncle deteriorated to almost nothing, the Parkinson's disease took away his strength and inevitably took away his life.
     Now you are probably wondering what good could possibly come out of that, well I will tell you. After I realized he couldn't catch me my mother said "you can love him, just love him differently". Such simple words but they had so many tears attached to it. The wisdom that my mother gave me was filled with peace and with kindness, she wanted my uncle to feel my love and most undoubtedly know unconditional kindness. I made sure that every time he arrived that I was waiting, gently anticipating a smile from him. I would walk over to his side and hug his leg and tell him that everything was going to be alright. I helped him up the stairs and sat beside him. As the night progressed I would hear him laugh occasionally. I was amazed at the heart behind the subtle laughter, the tears streamed from his face as he continued to make jokes off and on through the night. He was a real hero, he was my hero! Though he passed away quickly, he left an indelible mark of poise and joy. God was the centre of his pain, his frustrations and undoubtedly his faith. There simply was no perfect answer to why he suffered but there was a perfect lesson to be learned. Never ever give up!!

     I am going to keep running  until I make a difference, because I believe in never ever giving up. I believe in being the hope and living the change. Do you?!

Isaiah 40:31
But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

When life hands you lemons..

     Last night around supper time I felt a sudden urge to go run, it was like a bad itch! I needed to get out there and train. I needed to just run and let my thoughts melt into the pavement as I felt the wind pass through my hair. As I ran I thought of all the difficulties that I had overcome and all the challenges that laid ahead of me. I had 20 km's of time to digest it all. After running some of the hardest terrain I came across an area where the air suddenly felt fresh, the air smelled wonderful. Everything seemed so beautiful, I looked to my left and the sun was setting in the sky and all I could do was just stop and watch for a few moments. I closed my eyes and took everything in, every little bit of freedom that I was gaining and every little bit of joy that I was learning to live! There was a new found sense of life in that pause, that moment of appreciation and reflection. I was alive!!
     Maybe I was being a little dramatic but I was running and my dreams of a big run to bring awareness and hope were becoming reality! I wonder how many people are living someone else's dream, working 9 to 5. Living  a carbon copy of a life they really do not wish, somehow they are stuck in a maze of common complacency. Our fears can often dictate how, who and what we are. Well that is something that I am striving not to be, I want to live outside the box. I want to see the stars and kiss them with reality! I want to live and breathe a life of change and victory. Surprisingly it begins with a simple thought of  "I think I can"
     Make the choice to live outside your box and begin to dream, learn to live a life of victory!

When life hands you lemons, make apple juice! That will get everyone thinking.... by EvK

Philippians 4:13
I can do all things through christ who strengthens me!

Friday, March 18, 2011

I will....

     There I am, heart is pounding and my blood is pumping. I am standing on one of the most beautiful cliffs in Hawaii and the sun is shinning off of my face. It was completely wonderful, as I slowly looked over the edge I thought " Don't be afraid, your friend just jumped and so you can do it to!" As I leaped out into the ocean of blue I could feel the wind blowing through my toes and my hair was dancing among the clouds. The water quickly greeted me with arms wide open. Swoosh, suddenly my entire body felt the warm embrace as I rushed back to the surface, the clear blue ocean danced with tiny rippling tides of laughter. As I surfaced, I could see my friend slightly to the left of me, both of us were laughing and enjoying the moment. We began our return to the shoreline when I felt a gentle tug.....
     I began to panic ever so slightly, my mind began to race. As I continued on my return, the gentle tug turned like a sudden storm. Now it felt like I was being pulled by something bigger than a slight fear, it was an undertow! What first began as a few feet of separation from my friend and a gentle word or two, quickly turned into 30 feet of distance met with a complete understanding that I was in serious danger. The tide had turned and for some reason I was caught in an undertow of unrelenting persistence, no mercy! The water began to rise 5 to 10 feet and I was being pulled into a small horseshoe shaped rock face. I knew that if I didn't somehow swim away, I could very well die! As the water turned violent I was being sucked under by the tide, there was not escape; I was in serious danger. For a period of time that seemed like an eternity of fear I began to realize the grave circumstance that entangled me. As my body was pulled under, all I could see was the distorted imagery of my girlfriend looking from the cliffs high above. She gently waved at me and smiled. 
     My thoughts and emotions became stilted and time melted into confusion. I looked up desperately as I resurfaced for much needed air. Chest was pounding, my arms were numb and all I could think of was " I love you Chelsey, I want to have a family; this can't be the end of my life?!" After a period of time my body became to weak to carry on, I begged for God to rescue me as I sank toward the bottom of the sea. I am not sure what all transpired but for some amazing reason my body was pulled up to the surface, it felt like someone grabbed my hands and rescued me from passing out. Next thing I know I'm above water and I see someone jumping from the cliff to rescue me. His name was Jon and he saved my life! He was one of my other swimming buddies. When I finally arrived on dry ground I recognized that Jon could have easily died, we could have drowned together. His courage was amazing and if my soon to be wife had not called on Him I would have died that very day. 
     Sometimes our lives can take sudden turns, things that we could have never seen. We like to believe that we have so much control but eventually circumstances require our sober acknowledgement. Just a few years later my dear friend passed away in a plane crash. That very man who saved me, the selfless act of courage that filled his mind when he rescued me will never be forgotten! I learned something beautiful, something profound. Friendship is truly about sacrifice, about giving your heart without expectation. When I heard of my dear friends death it shook me, I felt guilty even. I wondered why I was alive and he was dead. The one thing that sticks in my mind to this very day was this, I told him these words "Jon thank you for saving my life, whatever I do from this point onward will be a blessing to you as well!" I wanted to make sure that the life I had was going to make a difference, some change! I was going to live a life of inspiration....

  1 Corinthians 13:4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Your Love Carried Me

     As I lifted my head I could see hundreds of children walking into the gym. I quickly looked down into my backpack, reaching for something to calm my nerves; I grabbed my cue cards and began to recite my speech under the slight gentle breath of anxiety. I knew I could do this, this is only a gym filled with tons of children waiting in anticipation. Watching my every move! I quickly put the cue cards down and told myself "Ernie calm down, this is only a demonstration. You are here to encourage and inspire children, you can do it!"
     I tried to focus on the fact that I was actually in a gym filled with children waiting to hear me speak. Just four and a half years ago I was in a hospital bed hearing the horrible news that I just had a stroke. The moment had literally made me crumble like a pile of bricks, like a wrecking ball had just smashed my entire world into pieces of rubble. Now if I could overcome that situation than I could undoubtedly face a school gym filled with people! So as soon as I heard my name I stood up and walked slowly to the front. Kids were looking at me with the biggest smiles, eyes were beaming; the world seemed so intriguing to their minds. Once I approached the front I felt calm and began to tell them my story, in fact it was the story of many people who suffer from illness. The sudden change of plans, a world that begins to change color. Maybe for some the world becomes black and white, filled with colorless dreams. I felt like a painter with words, slowly brushing the shapes and shadows of hope. 
     I could have hidden away in a cave of fear or covered my head with broken aspirations but that just isn't my personality. All because I spoke out and began to run, to believe in something bigger than myself. Knowing that God has a plan and that He holds my heart. I told others about myself, I preached it! I wanted to make others aware that we need to be aware of those around us, to care for those who are suffering. Well the speech was over and children were clapping, my heart went right through the roof! My eyes were filled with tears as I began to walk away, I was really touched by the love of the children. There is nothing more beautiful than watching young hearts begin to dream or for that matter anyone! As I began to return to my seat a couple of teachers stopped me and told me " Ernie I can't believe how much you have changed since 2 years ago! It simply is amazing." I was shocked and yet at the same time my heart, my soul, my everything; I felt like I had just swallowed rocket fuel!!" I felt motivated and I guarantee you that the run on May 1st will be the first of many motivational moments. 
     My dream is to run in seventy cities and running 7 miles within each city. With each run I want to run a short distance with any person who is in a wheelchair! Hey, I can dream can't I?! Seriously though, I have dreams in the making and nothing is impossible when you feel inspired. Diligence will carry the passion and passion will carry the hope!

You have the opportunity to be more than just a word within a page, a letter sitting in simple anticipation. You can be the writer of wonderful stories, living the dream!  By EvK

May God Bless you!