On small faith, mind-bending miracles, weepy bear hugs and an epic summer.
“How much have you raised so far?*” he said resting his coffee cup on my cubicle wall and peering down on me.
[*Context: On June 24th 2011, I announced a Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG): 50 women in Vancouver + Half-Marathon = Raising $50,000 for Our Sisters in Uganda. Read more.]
Glasses, sweater vest, baby blue shirt tucked into beige pants … What’s-his-name-What’s-his-name-What’s-his-name, I thought frantically. Bryan … Kevin … Jared? My desperate attempt at recollecting his name was interrupted by the loud slurp of coffee. What’s-his-name swallowed and said, “You know, your half-marathon goal of raising $50,000?”
Luckily, I’d learned a thing or two from years of watching the question round of the Miss Universe pageant. So I repeated his question back to him as slowly as humanly possible, stalling for time. “How … far … away … am … I … from … the … half-marathon … goal?” deliberately leaving out the little detail of $50,000.
“Yeah, how far along are you in relation to the $50,000 goal,” he responded.
What’s-his-name was relentless.
I took a deep breath and with my best (fake) calm voice I said, “You know, it’s really exciting! A lot of girls have signed up for the run. Most of them are not runners, so they want to train a little bit before they ask friends and family for money. At the moment we are at $840.”
His eyes widened, “But it’s the second week of August already! You have to make over $49,000 in a month and a half!”
I smiled, “I know! It will somehow come together. I have faith.”
Here’s the thing, I lied.
I didn’t have faith.
Well, I had faith.
I had small faith.
What is small faith you ask?
Small faith is …
– When you’re a “rah-rah” cheerleader on the outside, but secretly want to curl up in a fetal position and cry.
– When you quote Martin Luther King on your Facebook status and then take three nervous OCD showers to calm down.
– When you dream about raising $50,000 for your sisters in Uganda, but start convincing yourself that finishing the race without injuries would be a victory. It’s the thought that counts, right?
Guilty as charged.
I had small faith.
Real life doesn’t end with “happily ever after.” So, I typically dream safe dreams. “I hope there is parking close to the entrance of the mall.” Or: “I hope this new shampoo helps with my dandruff.” You know? That sorta thing. Dreams that don’t have the potential to embarrass me. Safe and realistic dreams that required small faith.
Unfortunately in the case of the half-marathon, I had opened my big fat mouth and put my BHAG out there, and now the whole world was going to know that I was a big fat failure/lunatic/loser.
Confession: When we made a You Tube video for creating awareness about the half-marathon, I asked my friend Dave who was editing the piece to remove the section where I talk about the $50,000 goal. Gulp. I know. We were days away from the run and nowhere near our goal, so I had started preparing my heart for a smaller dream.
“Not failure, but low aim, is a crime.” – James Russell Lowell
Earlier this week I was thumbing through Charles Swindoll’s book “Can One Person Make a Difference?” In the last chapter entitled “This is no time for wimps,” Swindoll talks about how God always gave big instructions.
He told Noah to “Build an ark.”
He told Joseph, “Return good for evil. Forgive your brothers”.
He told Moses, “Lead my people out of Egypt.”
He told David, “Kill the giant.”
He told Peter, “Feed my sheep.”
God never aims low.
So yes, $50,000 was an obscenely high number, but it was what I felt God wanted us to work towards.
You know the guy who peered over my cubicle? Yeah, he checked in every two weeks. He asked the same question, “So how away are you from your $50,000 goal?” After every conversation, I felt my heart sink and I set my sights lower. I said things like, “If we just make about $___, it would be okay. It would be decent. At least, we created awareness, right?”
I have to admit, I harboured some not-so-nice-thoughts …
Money Money Money
Over the next couple of weeks, this is what our fundraising progress looked like:
August 23rd – $4,460
God, $10,000 would be a respectable number.
September 6th – $6,248
God, seriously, if we could just get to $10,000, I won’t ask for anything else this year.
September 21st – $11,516
Haha. Okay God. You’re amazing. Maybe, $15,000?
September 22nd – $14,816
Eek!!! God, would it be crazy to aim for $20,000? P.S. $25,000 would be epic/mega/amazing/miraculous.
September 25th – Race Day!
You are my rock, God. With you by my side, I can do anything.
**____After the Half-Marathon____**
October 5th – $27,817
GOD?!! WOW! WOW! WOW! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!!!
November 17th – $43,607
… * tears * … I’m a fool for ever doubting you, Father. I’m sorry I had small faith.
A Letter to my Girls …
Dear half-marathon girls + Josh,
WE DID IT!!! We finished strong. We wrote a beautiful story together. We witnessed a miracle. We helped. Even though there is so much more work to be done, we did something. We didn’t just sigh and turn the other way, we put our words into action!
Thank you for leaping with me. I couldn’t have done it without each and everyone of you. Thank you for the mystic bond of sisterhood. I will always cherish the laughter, tears, prayers and hugs we shared on this journey. I will never forget that familiarization run with Dan: running in the dark, sharing Gatorade, peeing in bushes, squealing in laughter and disarming crazy car alarms. What a night. Thank you for reminding me what we were fighting for when I was overwhelmed. Thank you for grace in moments of (administrative) chaos. Thank you for your tender, juicy, beautiful, thumping-aching-bursting hearts. Thank you for carrying me when I had small faith.
My sweet and strong sisters, this is only the beginning …
I love you all.
Rib-crushing, weepy bear hugs,
If you haven’t donated to our cause yet and would still like to give, we are accepting donations until November 30th.
– Donate: HERE
– How it all got started? Read the story: HERE
Here are 5 things that made me smile this week:
Poetry Jam + Marcel “The Shell with Shoes On” + Murmurations + Seasame Street + Kina Granis = TGIF
1. Joshua Bennett’s spoken word tribute to his sister triggers a sharp pain in my chest. Powerful + Beautiful + Tender.
2. I found this little gem while randomly surfing on Vimeo. Meet Marcel “The shell with shoes on.” Jenny Slate is the brilliant (untreated and unenhanced) voice behind the protagonist Marcel. Jenny Slate, you are adorbs.
3. So, you know my long standing fear of birds? This video is so beautiful-breathtaking-awe-inspiring, I may have to reconsider my position on birds. Two girls in a canoe stumble upon one of nature’s greatest phenomenons; a murmuration of starlings. I’ve watched the video at least 10 times and I still get chills. Prepare to be enchanted. (P.S. If I had to pick my favourite out of this week’s list of 5 things, this would be it.)
4. My friend Brandi-Lee (or B.Diddy as I like to call her) was watching Sesame Street with her son, Finn, when she heard this catchy tune. “She’s gonna change the world, she’s gonna make the world a better place!” Yeah she is! I don’t know why but I love the massive pearl earrings on the puppet. I keep imagining someone looking at the puppet and saying, “There is something missing here. Ah yes, pearl earrings!” Haha. Yes, I’m easily amused.
5. I’ve been following Youtube star Kina Granis for years now. She was on The Ellen show this week after the release of her new music video “In your arms”. 22 months, 1,357 hours, 30 people, 2 ladders, 1 still camera and 288,000 jelly beans. Dedication or insanity? You decide.
Watch the making of the video:
So, dear friends…
1. Have you ever experienced a miracle in spite of having small faith? I would love to hear about it!
2. What keeps you from dreaming big? Failure, past disappointments, responsibilities, etc.?
Love you more than Chocolate Chip Toffee Bars, (<- Recipe)