I have always been very proud of my dad. For those of you who know him, this will come as no surprise. He has that amazing balance that so many Christians strive for. He is absolutely adamant about what he believes, but he doesn't feel the need to preach (ironic, I know...). He is passionate, but not aggressive. He makes anyone feel comfortable.
The most recent event in my dad's life has been the Marine Corp Marathon. He ran in memory of his father, BJ Dean, and my mom's father, RL Cranford, both of whom were veterans. He ran his first marathon last February without any problems at all. As he was training for this one, he began to have some pain in his leg. It turned out to be a stress fracture. He went to see a number of doctors and they all advised him to take it easy for the 6 weeks before the race. He was forced to continue his training by riding the stationary bike (for 3 hours!) and treading water. He was determined to continue on with the race. As anyone who runs knows, the last few weeks are critical. He was up to 18 miles in his training before he had to quit running. He didn't really know how he would make it.
We told a few people, so that they would pray. He really didn't tell many people about his injury. Were it me, I would have been telling my sob story to everyone, just in case I failed. I would want everyone to know I had a good excuse. This is not his way. His quiet faith and confidence were all he needed.
Well, race time came and he did an amazing job. One of his sweet friends, Chad Brantley, jumped out of the crowd at about mile 21 and ran the rest with him. What an amazing surprise! Allison and I did the last bit with him. I could tell he was having to use everything he had at that point. This weird cheerleader thing came out in me! I wanted to say or do anything to help him. I have never been prouder of him than I was when he ran across that finish line. He ran the entire way and miraculously had no pain. Thank you Lord.