Wish #4 -- A Challenge vs a Burden

Before writing about Wish #4, I’d like to cover a housekeeping item. Little mention has been made on my part regarding the numbers behind the fundraising effort to this point and with less than two weeks until the Hike, I thought an update would be in order. Most importantly, I’d like to thank so many for their generosity! This past week we made it to 50% of the fundraising goal! That is a joke – if you read my last blog entry you’d get my poor sense of humor. Actually, last week we passed the $20K mark in funds raised. Hopefully there will be an exciting stretch run to the fundraising during the next couple weeks! Thanks again to everyone for your encouragement.

On to Wish #4…. Last night I walked 20 miles, trying to prepare my legs for what they might feel like on July 21. My stroll began at 4 pm from my house, heading north. If you know the San Gabriel Valley and roughly where I live, you know that as you head north you are staring at Mt Wilson and the Angeles National Forest – if you didn’t know that, now you do. The valley where I live has a slight upward slope from south to north. As one gets closer to the mountain range, the slope increases. After 8 miles of walking north and climbing over 1000 feet of elevation, I was questioning my sanity and the route I had chosen. After walking 8 miles downhill, I was wondering if my knees and hip sockets would ever be the same. The only thing that kept me going at mile 15 was the thought that in one mile I would meet the Big 3 at In-n-Out – no, not Lebron, Wade and Bosh – my Big 3, Ellie, Gabe and Lori! I never thought I’d walk into In-n-Out and not feel much like eating, but that was the case last night. I sat down, visited, had a small snack and was on my way. The 20 mile walk ended at my house about an hour later with me walking noticeably slower than when I began. I have a new appreciation for the fatigue that marathon runners must experience!

The walk last night was a challenge. The Hike in two weeks will be a challenge. Challenges carry risks, but they are mostly bearable and are less than overwhelming. Most challenges have an escape hatch. I could have turned my 20 mile walk into a 16 mile walk at In-n-Out. My Wish #5 could be “I wish I hadn’t signed up for this Hike – I quit!” What’s the point? Well, the Hike is great, but it is just a challenge – it is what the dictionary calls “demanding”. With this challenge, “Failure is an Option” – try putting that on a t-shirt and selling it to your local high school football team! So here is my little wish, call it wish #4 (little) – I really wish that I knew I wasn’t going to fail at the Hike (that is why I am training at least a little), but if I do, it is a failed challenge and that is bearable, and in this case possibly even trivial.

Burdens seem to me to be Challenges nasty cousins. I’ll be the first to admit that I am no expert on burdens based on personal experience. If I was, I wouldn’t be coming up with self-imposed challenges. That said, I’ve been witness to burdens – they can be unbearable and overwhelming. Without help from Someone greater and stronger than themselves, carriers of burdens are likely to be crushed. So what’s the point and where’s the big Wish #4? Wish #4 (big) – I really wish that I’d spend more time helping others with their burdens. And that is why Jim Colton’s Hundred Hole Hike endeavor is so special. HHH takes a somewhat trivial challenge and uses it as a tool to chip away at burdens. Take a look at the Causes tab on the website – there’s a long list of burdens that are being chipped away.

What about the Gailen Veurink Scholarship Fund? One could no doubt argue that the scholarships provided by this fund are not chipping away at burdens as heavy as hunger, homelessness, or disease. Point taken. But I think that the scholarship fund was one of a very few “burdens” that Gailen was bearing the last time I visited with him. Gailen’s wife, kids, brothers, sister, parents, in-laws, and close friends in Des Moines know much more about this than I do. But my sense was that Gailen was largely at peace. His burdens were taking care of his family, sharing his faith, and tying up loose ends, one of which was talking to me about this scholarship fund. (I’m sure I’m missing some things!) Ultimately, I think the scholarship fund was Gailen’s way of saying he wished he could have done more. Thanks for helping out with that wish.

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Comments

Grant and I are very excited to head to Nebraska next week. I am so thankful that when God put the scholarship idea on Gailen's heart, He had also orchestrated a deep friendship that was a blessing to Gailen for many years. That friendship continues to bless Erika, Grant, Sarah and me. I am overwhelmed with all that Chris, Lori, Gabe and Ellie are pouring into the Hike and yet I know that is why Gailen asked Chris to help. As we pray for God to give Chris strength to complete his goal, we are praying that God will be glorified and that many will be blessed because of his efforts. Thank you Chris for taking the lead on this. Thank you to all who have pledged money for the scholarship fund. It will be an honor to offer this scholarship to Dordt students for many years to come.
Stephanie Veurink