On October 13, 2012 at 8am, in the cool, about to rain, Kansas weather a race was run. I was about to embark on a journey with one of my best friends and encouragements Mike Reynolds. Music prevalent was over the surrounding chattering crowd. Numerous shouts of encouragement being thrown out and an all around joyous time being had. All this somehow associated with one of the most massive sorrowful events that any family could experience. It was in honor of an amazing family, and I have never met them. The story, the fight, the loss, but the purpose triumphs. A record 3550 people attend an event to run, walk, jog, and maybe even briskly stroll. Plus the numerous people who didn’t run, but assisted in making the 14th Annual Jared Coones Memorial Pumpkin 5K Run/Walk a memorable one.
What was the first guy to discover milk doing to that poor cow? What was Captain Hook’s name before he became an amputee? Why do bad things always happen to good people? (I believe it’s because they can handle it and turn it into a positive, but that’s just me).There are some things in life we don’t understand. More specifically, why would a loving God take the life of a young boy with his whole life ahead of him and then leave the father as a widower due to the same infectious, disgusting disease. That’s the million dollar question that can only be speculated upon. In Romans 5:3-5 it states, “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” I believe we experience hardships in life, not because doesn’t care, but because there is positive, there is hope that we can choose to seek and embrace or ignorantly turn away from and harden our hearts from a God that wants to be our Comforter.
Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react. In my life I have been on both sides of the fight. Winning by finding God and running to the healer and the not so joyous side of letting what Satan presents consume me. I have reacted positively and negatively. But, through it all, I have ended up here. Still fighting and striving to cling to the hope that is offered in Romans and throughout the 66 page love letter we have. In the Coones family’s case, fighting to honor their son Jared and then imagine how desire to continue to fight could have stopped after Jayne (Jared’s mother) passed away. Devastation, for lack of a stronger word, comes to mind. But, instead, look where this memorial has reached and not even close to having peaked.
Before the race, I was asked why I was running. Well, to be frank (Don’t worry my name is still Joey), I like to challenge myself and that was my initial thought. Which led to more contemplation. Why do we run, walk, skip, in these races? It’s silly to think so many run so they can give up money and get a measly t-shirt . A minimal amount knew the people, most have never ventured a mile or two in their shoes, and we may not even be from the area affected. I then formulated the answer that I run not only to challenge myself, but to run for the ones who can’t. To take strides in a positive direction, to fight to the finish, to push ourselves in honor of people who fought and were beat. It gets hard, in life and in running (the pictures clearly prove). But with challenge comes growth, passion, and empathy. While the people are no longer here, their story, their fight, their purpose lives on in every safety pinned bib, every drop of sweat, and every stride taken.
Here’s to you Jared, Jayne, and the Coones family purpose. Thank you for the challenge, the example, the story that lives on
Keep on and keep God friends
P.S. If you didn’t see any issues with the image at the top of the blog ignore this. If you did, blame technology.