In parts 1 and 2 of this story (see previous posts), I wrote about a journey that I have been on with a friend battling ovarian cancer. I met her when I went to her house as a volunteer to do anything she might need. That day we became fast friends, and God’s story began between us…
8 weeks ago until 3 weeks ago, “Coach” Peri trained me on Monday and Wednesday mornings; it was an awesome and encouraging time for the both of us. (For more detail, see part 2 of this story.)
2 1/2 weeks ago, I walked in for one of my visits with Peri and quickly realized she was in a different place with her cancer; her mind was a little scattered and her body was obviously weaker. That day, our workout shifted from me running stairs and doing push-ups, to me crawling in her bed and snuggling beside her. We giggled and decided that this was our favorite workout yet.
On a more serious note, I became the “coach” that day and told her she must lay all her worries down and only do this one thing: breathe Jesus in, and breathe Jesus out. She breathed in very deeply, nodded with a sweet peace, and then I left, kissing her on her cheek.
2 weeks ago, Peri shared the obvious with me through tears: barring a miracle, she would not be physically present for my sister and me to push her in the marathon in March. It was at this point that our marathon connection became a picture rather than a reality. I told her, “Maybe God sent me to you in order to “push you” with hope in the real marathon of life, to encourage you to keep your eyes fixed on Jesus, whom you already know and love. And maybe I was sent to you just to help you finish strong, to cross the finish line of this life directly into His arms.” Through more tears, we agreed that this was so.
1 week ago until now, each time I see or talk to Peri I wonder if it will be our last visit this side of heaven. What a sweet privilege it has been to know her. I love her. And I know that I WILL see her again. My sister and I will someday run with her, no jogger-stroller will be necessary.
In keeping with the passage of the Good Samaritan that I have referred to in part 1 and part 2, the compassionate Samaritan “crossed the street,” picked up the wounded man, and then took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper.”Look after him,” he said,”and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.” Luke 10:34-35
I want to live out the full story of the Good Samaritan for Peri Thomas. My sister and I have decided to make our next marathon in March a sponsored walk/run with 100% of the raised funds going to the Thomas family. Peri is leaving behind her husband Gordan, Taylor (21), Jack (16), Clayton (10, who has downs syndrome), Emma Kate (8), and George (6). Their needs are great on all fronts.
If you would like to contribute financially to this sponsorship, bless you for “crossing the street with me.” Checks can be made out to HopeWalking. In the memo line, please write Peri Thomas family. Please send all checks to:
Chris Baxter/ Hope Walking
1765 Warren Hollow Road.
Nolensville TN 37135
Thank you for your donation, be it financially or prayerfully.