Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Things I Love - Number 2

#2 - The Stepping Forward Team

In Cincinnati, the Flying Pig is one of the most cherished events of our city.  I love this event - the energy, the pink, the pigs, the history, the running, the cheering...it's fantastic.

There is a particular group that trains for this race each year that I am growing to love more and more...
The Stepping Forward Team!  This team consists of the men and women in City Gospel Mission's addiction recovery programs as well as the volunteers running alongside them to cheer them on and help them achieve this goal.  We run in Over-the-Rhine each Wednesday and Saturday.  I am encouraged by these men and women.  They have walked through so much in their lives.  They have taken the step to clean up their lives.  They are warriors. 

I have so much respect for what they have done and continue to do to progress their healing.  They leave their families, their jobs, everything...and go to live in a location for 12-18 months in order to recover.  A couple weeks ago I walked with a lady named Jennifer.  She has a boy who is around 10 years old...and he is living with the father right now while she heals.  How difficult?  To lose a year and a half of your child's life?  Of course, she does it because she wants a better life for him -  and being clean and sober will certainly mean that in his life...but still, I can't imagine that makes it much easier to do.

I think of Sue, who spoke one Saturday before our run.  She started her speech with "I've been running all my life...running from my responsibilites as a wife and mother...etc."  She first heard of the Stepping Forward Team while in jail as a heroine addict.  The next year, she was running WITH the team.  Today, she is an absolute inspiration to  all who have the privilege to know her. 

Knowing these men and women, running with them, talking to them, hearing them tell their stories...it inspires me.  I am better because of it.  I am less alone in the struggles and lonliness of my life.  I have more courage to face my own challenges.  It is an absolute HONOR to be called their friend and to get to partner with them in this beautiful journey of healing and restoration. 

I am... STRONG
We are ...STEP FORWARD!!!!!!!!

If you are downtown May 5th or 6th for some of the Flying Pig races, listen for our cheer.  You might just be inspired too...

Sue's interview