Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Chlorine Spill 97 km Journey Bringing Healing

Last week driving home from a pool company a bottle of chlorine spilled in the trunk of my car, only about one cup leaked out, yet it has been a challenging problem to get rid of the odor. After trying a few "quick fix" solutions that made the problem worse I have found that by opening the windows and airing my car out in the garage every night is the best way to gradually naturally freshen my car. 
I started this blog a few years ago to write out my deepest thoughts revealed to me when running down my ravine. I started writing as a way to cope with the reality of the ugliness of human trafficking, and my unlikely role of combating it. I have taken six months off my writing, and wondered if I would ever post again. The funny thing is that this blog is being read more than ever, by parts of the world I do not even know and will soon have over 10 000 views.

The French Emperor Napoleon was defeated in Waterloo.
This year I had a goal to run/walk the 97 km or 59 miles from my house in Mississauga to the starting point of The Waterloo Marathon, three days later I was to run the full 42.2 km or 26.2 mile Marathon.
I am not a risk taker! A banker once told me I was one of the most conservative investors he had came across.
I guess in some ways I am not taking a risk as I believe God is orchestrating these events that I seem to "randomly" enter.
Trusting in God is not a risk.
The trip to Waterloo was the biggest physical challenge of my life. At work a friend asked me "how do you train for 97km ?" I told him "there is no training for that distance." As soon as I said it I realised how ridiculous my answer seemed, but it was the truth. To train for a 42.2 km race, along with other shorter runs I run one very long run a week. I start at 15 km and by the end of training I have actually ran further than a marathon. Working full time, being a husband, and Father did not allow me to transfer this type of training for my trip to Waterloo.

The day of travelling to Waterloo itself was amazing. I had wanted to run further before walking but the weight of my backpack was actually choking me. While walking up the side of the road I thought of the weight of my backpack in terms of any child who has suffered sexual abuse. I thought of how this individual must carry this weight all the time, every day of their lives, their loads instead of getting lighter as mine did, would become heavier due to the unfairness of life. What an incredible privilege I have been given to help lighten those less fortunate than myself loads, through my unlikely career in running.  

I came across this baby turtle who was trying to cross Highway 7, I picked him up and carried him safely to a stream a long distance from the road.

Many times the song by Rend Collective came to me:
The Joy Of The Lord Is My Strength

The joy of the Lord is my strength
The joy of the Lord is my strength
In the darkness I`ll dance
In the shadows I`ll sing
The joy of the Lord is my strength

I laughed aloud as I shuffled past Speed River in Guelph which is the training facility for some of Canada`s elite marathon runners, picturing my current stride with theirs.
I ran out of water and went to Rocky`s Hot Dog Restaurant in Guelph to purchase some, when the young man heard of what I was doing for my cause Ratanak International and their work with victims of trafficking in Cambodia he filled my back pack up with water free of charge. Having a headache I purchased advil from a Drug store who would not let me use their restroom and directed me to a mall that had a public restroom. When I came out of the restroom I saw a 140 lb security guard looking at me nervously. I realised he thought I was homeless and thought he may have to deal with me. Pride was still part of me for I laughed to myself and thought  "even in my weakened state it would take a lot more than you."
I finished this long journey at 9.30 pm. Another laugh was my oldest daughter thinking the ambulance was waiting for me. It was in a way, as St John`s was the main benefactor of the marathon, but my daughter was thinking more along the lines of her dad collapsing into the ambulance, than of St John`s being there for a publicity shot.

I have mentioned before sometimes I believe our minds fail us before our bodies. I know I could have went further that day, how far I do not know? That is a question that may never be answered for while bandaging up four blisters and trying to stop the blood flowing from my foot onto the kitchen floor my wife told me next year she does not want me to run a long distance to a City before running the actual marathon, she "wants me to run fast in what will be my last marathon."   I will honor her request for running a marathon is a risk and she has supported me for all nine previous.

The day of the Waterloo marathon was freezing! Ron Beer showed up and filmed the whole race, here are a couple of pictures.

At a Toronto Core Group meeting we set the goal for the upcoming walkathon I suggested the number $15 052, a very aggressive number. Other members mentioned $20 052. Jessika Mak set the goal at $20 252. A number I did not see how we could achieve.

The day of the walk as I am trying to organize my responsibilities, these two show up at 8.00 am, one hour before the walk. Peter and Chris Fonseca, both politicians in Mississauga, along with their two sons.
The day itself is always so amazing! Jessika spoke of meeting two young ladies who have benefited from the work of Ratanak International and how they even knew of our event. I mentioned how our family cat Lucy likes wandering around in our backyard. Lucy is a hunter, she is looking for something she can prey upon, something that is weaker than her, something she can devour. As many as twenty birds of all different sizes and types have started chirping very loudly every time Lucy comes into the backyard, they even take turns flying near her. Lucy gets discouraged and leaves the backyard. I see our walkathon in comparison to the birds, we are small, and no match for the giant that is human trafficking. On the surface we seemingly can do very little. By banding together and picking one area of the world Cambodia, and one organization Ratanak International we can and have made an impact. The birds of my backyard can not save every bird on my street from Lucy or other cats but they have prevented Lucy from catching any birds in my backyard. Collectively there is more strength than acting individually.

As with my chlorine spill in my car there is no "quick fix" for victims of sexual abuse. There are many years of healing through therapy, prayer, training, counselling. There is a cost attached to this. The total of $23 352 was raised at the 5kmWalkathon well past the goal. The money will be sent to Cambodia to help victims of trafficking get the help they need to heal. 


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