It’s been a pretty hard day and past week…

That line above, “it’s pretty a pretty hard day and past week” is all that I wrote before I quit writing and closed up my laptop. I couldn’t put words to what I was feeling. Not only couldn’t I have at the time, but more than anything I don’t think that I wanted to at the time.

I had just come off a great weekend away. Kortney and I drove together up to Michigan and spent the 3-4 days skipping from place to place with almost no real plans—and I mean one morning we woke from our hotel and had to decide where we were going that day. We didn’t even have the next hotel booked. It was refreshing!

The trip away was for a number of reasons, most importantly we celebrated our ten year marriage anniversary and I had a marathon on Saturday morning. I’ll get to the marathon in a second, but you might be thinking, “Ten years and you didn’t even have a plan for your trip? Come on, Jason!” If you’ve been following along, you know that our last year has been completely insane. Aside from both of us going through job changes, we’ve also picked up and moved from our communities of friends. We had one move to an apartment, and we’ve recently purchased a home and moved once again—we’re still in the same jobs, but Alter’d Core, the studio where Kort works, is about to open their second studio location in Chagrin Falls! All that to say, the slow-going, unplanned trip is exactly what we needed. Especially with the marathon, the trip was almost like I got to take a big deep breath after holding it in for the last year amidst all the changes.

As enjoyable as that trip was for Kort and I, the marathon had multiple layers to it. At least a year ago, I had this September marathon on my radar for the sole purpose of qualifying for the Boston Marathon (spoiler: Registration for the Boston Marathon is happening right now, and I won’t be signing up but I’m at peace with that). I’ve ran marathons in the past and I knew I was minutes from qualifying, so I thought that this marathon in Michigan would be the one that got me my ticket to Boston. I was on a mission and all that mattered was running under 3 hours and toeing the line in Boston.

As I was training, I remember attending an all-staff event at work (I work at a church). And at the event, an individual shared about Susan Sackett, who was a coworker of mine at the time. Susan was diagnosed with ALS and the church was doing a great deal of work, even remodeling parts of her home, to support Susan and her family. That individual gave the microphone to Susan, who I could tell wasn’t in any way excited to be on a microphone or even center of attention. As I processed memories of Susan once walking passed me with a big smile on her face to now sitting in a wheelchair, Susan shared about her love for God and the faith that she had that Christ will be made famous through her story and her fight with ALS. She even mentioned attending some larger ALS events, on one side to help find a cure but at the same time to share Christ with others who are going through what she’s going through. I was blown away by the faith she had over fear.

When the mic was handed off, we transitioned to a time of worship before gathering around Susan as a team and praying for her. Throughout that time, I just remember hearing a call to “Do something to help, anything.” It was like a mosquito that wouldn’t leave me alone as I worshipped with the team. “Do something.” I had no idea what I could do, but my marathon came to mind and I wanted to find a way to make that about more than Boston.

After some research, I set up a Pledge It and was able to loop that into what CCC was doing to support the Sackett fam. It was decided that all funds would go to providing an education fund for Susan and Brady’s four kids, Ethan, Tessa, Carly, and Grace. It’s still open as I’m writing this and I’d encourage you to consider supporting the family if you haven’t already.

Wednesday before the marathon, Susan came to visit me at work to wish me luck for the marathon. Her dad, Jim, helped her make it in to see me. We talked about the marathon, and how she wanted to hear all about it as her family and my family walk together and talk about the race. She said a number of times that she wanted to meet Kortney, and she listened intently as I told her about what we actually did have planned for our trip. She gave me a sign that her kids made for my race before I asked her what else she had planned for the day. She said, “This is it. Coming to see you is my day. I’m going to go back and rest after this.”

Susan ended her battle with ALS and went to be with Jesus earlier this week. And when I say she went to be with Jesus, I don’t say that as a nice way of saying that Susan passed or that she’s no longer with us—I know without a shadow of a doubt that Jesus is living, that the God of the Bible is real, that his promises are yes, and that Susan is with our Savior today.

Before Susan was admitted to the hospital, I texted her the results of the race. I missed Boston by 4 minutes, but this time I really didn’t care. Susan taught me and so many others what it looks like to run a great race and finish well.

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