Friday 3:30pm - We arrived at camp...our home away from home!! But, where were the rows of pink tents we had heard about??? At present, there were a few staggered throughout the field. And a handful of tired faces popping up their little hot pink tents. So, we realized quickly that we wouldn't be dropping instantly onto our luxurious sleeping bags...there was a little work yet to be done. We had to grumble a little bit, but it probably only took us 10 minutes to get our gear and our tent into place. Then a nice, hot shower in the back of a semi-truck (not a weird as it sounds...they are actually pretty nice portable shower units). Eventually, we hobbled our way over to the community tents....the LaCroix tent filled with foot massagers (no, not the human kind...the plug-in kind), the 3Day Cafe filled with lounging chairs and MORE snacks, the 3Day Gear store, the Medical tent and the Dining tent.
Friday Evening - We enjoyed a yummy and well-deserved meal of spaghetti!! And were delighted to find a stand full of Diet Coke! The highlight of the evening was 3Day Rock Star...an American Idol sort of thing. One of the few men in the group got up and sang Billy Joel's "My Life" and the women went wild!!! A little pathetic...but funny! He really was talented and entertaining though and of course, he made it into the Saturday night finals! After that, it was off to bed...where we lay and tried to fall asleep to the endless giggles of one of the neighboring tents. I don't know what could have been so funny!
Saturday 6am - We were up and going bright and early again. We enjoyed a huge breakfast, got our gear together and were off by around 7:00am. Day Two's Route... 22.7 miles. Another beautiful route and more great weather! I was excited to walk by the hospital where Henry was born and to eat lunch in a park across the street from Erik and my first apartment! At some of the pit stops they started handing out conversation starters, so Anna and I enjoyed hours of "what if" questions. Our bodies were feeling a little more strained by this point, but we still plugged along at a pretty good pace!
Saturday 3pm - We arrived back at camp earlier than we had expected again! We relaxed for the rest of the afternoon until the evening meal. Then some more fun with the 3Day Rock Star Finals and a dance party afterwards. We're not much for dancing...but it was fun to watch! By 9:00, we dropped, exhausted, into our tents!
Sunday 5:30 am - We awoke to buzzing around us...many women were already up. Some had already taken down their tents and were heading to breakfast. So, we popped up and started packing our gear. Only 17 miles...it seemed like a cake-walk! By 7:00, we were heading out again! Back on the trail and excited to see our families and to accomplish what we had set out to do! Sunday's route took us back through some of the areas we had been through on Friday and Saturday. I was so excited to see Erik and my three little cheerleaders at a cheering station near Indian Mounds Park in St. Paul. They made wonderful signs and had excited smiles to greet Anna and I with!! Henry declared that he is going to walk the 3Day because we get so much candy from the people that await us at the cheering stations! Their support was just what I needed to carry me through the last four miles of the walk!!! The route came to completion at the State Capitol. There were thousands of people who came to support the walkers and attend the closing ceremony!
What an event!! This 3Day walk has been such an interesting adventure for me. It kind of fell, oddly into my lap and I have spent months pondering what I am suppose to gleam from it. There have been so many lessons...maybe I've just spent too much time on the open road, alone with my thoughts, but I want to "walk" away with not only a great life experience, but also having gained some wisdom.
Here are some things I have learned:
(1) I am capable of more than I thought I was. I set out to do something I initially felt I couldn't do...I was hindered by my usual response of "I can't raise that much money," and "I can't walk that far!" But, you know what, I was wrong! I can! And it feels good to know that! "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!" Philippians 4:13
(2) What matters in life is people and relationships and stepping out of our comfort zone to help and love others. I am not sold out to the "Susan G. Komen for the Cure" cause, but to a different cause. That of loving humanity in whatever way I am called to. I prayed that the Lord would use me as encouragement to somebody on this walk, and I was so excited when I met Lois on Saturday night. She is a breast cancer survivor who was on the crew. She was alone at the event and when Anna and I sat down across from her at supper, she seemed quite happy to have the company. She immediately began to share her story with us. Then she asked us who we knew that has had breast cancer. I don't know why, but Anna and I responded in unrehearsed unison, "You!" She just looked at us for a moment and then started to cry. She couldn't believe we were there just because we could be (a reason that, in the past, I have almost felt I needed to apologize for). She just kept saying, "That is so neat!" We visited for awhile that evening and I saw her again a couple of times on Sunday. I feel so blessed to have met her! "For the entire law can be summed up as this, Love your neighbor as yourself!" Galatians 5:14
(3) Monday, the morning after the 3Day, I woke up a little stiff, but mostly just feeling emotionally drained. We had heard the stories of so many suffering...a 32 year old diagnosed with Stage 4, who just wants to go to her 5yr old daughter's wedding some day, a husband who wore his wife's picture on the back of his shirt and walks in her memory, children who have lost parents, parents who have lost children. I just wept for understanding! Probably somewhat out of physical exhaustion, but also out of the emptiness and loss that can come along with this battle! I just keep pondering the 3Day slogan, "Everyone Deserves a Lifetime" and struggling with why that lifetime is so different for each of us. The best I can do is to hold firmly to my eternal cure, which is that "Everyone who lives and believes in [Jesus] will never die." John 11:26. An eternity without suffering, not because I deserve it, but because I have been given it...I'll take that!!!!!
Yesterday, I read this in Max Lucado's "Grace For the Moment" devotional...
"We don't like to say good-bye to those whom we love. Whether it be at a school or a cemetery, separation is tough. It is right for us to weep, but there is no need for us to despair. They had pain here. They have no pain there. They struggled here. They have no struggles there. You and I might wonder why God took them home. But they don't. They understand. They are, at this very moment, at peace in the presence of God....."
Thank you for following me on this journey! I thought I would need a good long break from walking after all of this...but I am already itching to get back out. So, I will see you on the road! Love and blessings to you all!
Anna - Thank you for doing this with me! I am so proud of who you are and of your strength to push through the pain that you had for most of the weekend! I love you! Walk on!