The first event took place early in the day as people of all ages gathered together at the local high school track to honor "Coach" Becky Ryder on her 65th birthday. The plan was for Becky to run for 65 minutes around the track while others came to join in the fun. In addition, this event became a fund raiser for the Oak Grove Track Team.
As I hobbled along the track with others, I was struck by the variety of ages and people who were there. Teenagers ran alongside children who ran alongside their parents, and in some cases, their grandparents. Everyone had a smile on their face and the joy of running could be seen with every step...even the painful ones. That's when the random thought struck...what a wonderful way to honor a life, by carrying on the torch. Coach Becky has inspired thousands of runners through the years, not just to run, but to live life to the fullest and enjoy every day. I don't think I have ever met anyone with a greater gift of encouragement than Becky. She has a gift for seeing in others what they sometimes cannot even see in themselves. She also has a gift for really enjoying life...not just sitting on the sidelines waiting for something to happen. The people who "ran" with her today were just a small sample of the many lives she has touched.
Tonight, I had the privilege of honoring another wonderful friend as he was surprised by his family with an 80th birthday party. Once again, I was almost in tears as I watched friends and family tell funny stories and precious memories of the difference Howard Myrick has made in their lives. I know personally, I have grown from watching his faithful walk with the Lord for the past 22 years I have had the joy of calling him friend. Those who were there tonight were a testimony of that walk. Why, even my children are a testimony of how he has touched those around him. Since both of my children are Bethany babies, without the work he has done with that organization, I have to wonder if that miracle would have even come to be were it not for his faithfulness. His life has touched the lives of others in so many ways....some that he will never know about this side of heaven.
Both these people were honored today for the way they have lived their lives, and it got me to thinking. How do you honor such a life? How does a person honor their father or mother or whoever it is in their life that has made a difference? Simply by continuing on the work and carrying the torch. Both Becky and Howard have "lit a fire" in the lives of so many people. They are changing the world around them in positive ways. We honor them, and others we love, by sharing what they have shared with us. It's not just a once a year thing....we do it every day - not just in the words that we say, but in the life that we live. That's how you honor a life.
So to Becky and Howard and many others in my life who have made such a difference, we honor you...not just with our words, but with the life we now live. Thank you for being you.
"I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Philippians 1:3 - 6