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  • Writer's pictureAriel M. Pace

Run Your Race

You and I share 2 fundamental truths in common, maybe 3. We are birthed into life, we all have choices to make in this life, and when our time comes we all will pass away. For some reason, it’s only in the face of death that many of us, including myself, become more serious and intentional about how we live. I’ve been to a lot of funerals in my short life span. Seen a lot of people buried. Funerals for both young and old, and deaths caused by tragic and non-tragic incidents. Especially in the past couple of years. I’ve heard the regrets, lessons learned, and warm memories of loved ones passed on. It's weird that someone you talked to, laughed with, or knew of can one day be no more. It's absolutely mind-boggling. Almost like we were made to live forever and death interrupts that flow.

"The craziest thing in the eyes of a grieving person is that life continues to move on...There's no changing that."

The most recent funeral I went to hurt a little more than the rest. It just hit differently. I had just paid my respect to my Auntie Mae whose funeral was on May 28th. The next weekend was a birthday party, my cousin turned 3. Before the full weekend was over, Grandma was gone. Two weeks hadn't even fully passed good enough to process the first funeral, now another one? And my Grandma at that! That hurt real deep. The weekend of her funeral my family had planned to go to a graduation and Busch Gardens. Crazy how unpredictable life can be. I still cry some days - even now as I write about it. Some days I laugh in remembrance of the good times. If she was alive and able she would've been the loudest cheering at my cousin's graduation. The craziest thing in the eyes of a grieving person is that life continues to move on. Celebrations, National debates, financial struggles, and personal issues continue to occupy the forefront of our lives. There’s no pause button except for the moments of solitude and quiet thought in between. Other than that, we keep going. There’s no changing that. Sometimes there's therapy in the going. Despite heavy losses and life’s abrupt way of moving forward, there’s another thing that continues that puts me at ease: God’s goodness. I love Psalm 27 when it says, “I will remain confident of this: I will see God’s goodness in the land of the living." This scripture is the breath of fresh air I need to make it through some days. I know full well and testify that I have seen God's goodness to me in the little and big things. My heart becomes so full of love and thankfulness thinking about it all. Grandma probably felt the same way.

"Can't is not a word, but 'can do' is here to stay!"

My grandma was a strong believer in God. When I didn’t think I could do something she’d hit me with, “Can’t is not a word, but 'can do' is here to stay!” Then she’d say, “You can do all things in Christ who strengthens you.” She had authority in her voice and a powerful way of saying things that made me believe it was true. Thanks to her, and my own journey through doubt, questions, and curiosity, I too believe in God. I believe that with His strength I can keep moving forward. I can see, not through the eyes of grief, but through determination to make God and grandma proud.

"...let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us..." - Hebrews 12:1

The Bible says, “Therefore since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…” When there’s a lot on my mind these days, I take this scripture to heart and literally put down any extra weights - be it my phone, wallet, shoes - and sprint. I run, run, run. Spiritually we can do the same. We can choose to get out of bed and not waste another day. We can choose to rid ourselves of bad, addictive habits. We can choose to let go of bitterness, unforgiveness, and hatred. We can choose as long as we have a conscious mind, breath in our lungs, and a heart that beats. Moving forward, I think about my life and how I’m living all the time. Am I making the most of it? Am I acting like God’s child or the devil's child? Cause people, I ain’t perfect. I know I have issues, how about you? I laugh sometimes because God is humorous and gracious to gently prod me in the right direction when needed. Lillie Mae ran her race. My Aunt Mae too! They ran well despite the obstacles they faced in their life. By God’s love and grace, I choose to believe we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength. Take off your weights. Keep the faith. Run your race. And by God, run it well. In loving memory of Lillie Mae and Auntie Mae Callie, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have kept the faith." - 2 Timothy 4:7

Click the button below for the poem I recited at Lillie Mae's Funeral.


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