Vail Valley Voices: The race run well |

Vail Valley Voices: The race run well

Shane Musgrove
Vail, CO Colorado

Hope resonates with us.

In many ways, it is a strong driving force behind our actions and respon-sible for the inspiration that keeps us moving throughout life.

The word itself holds a very power-ful connotation, but strangely enough, it is hard, possibly impossi-ble, to define. I have read countless definitions by great thinkers, but they do not seem to suffice, and at some level they all fall short.

I fall short, as well, and yet I do know this: Hope comes and goes in this life. It’s there one minute and gone the next. We cannot seem to hold it in our hands as if it blows away with the wind. It is like a moment in time when we feel overwhelming joy in our lives, and that moment sud-denly vanishes without our desire. We try our hardest to reclaim the memory of it and search earnestly for it, but it lacks its original value and it feels differ-ent, if we feel it at all. It cannot be recaptured. It is unattain-able. That subtle mem-ory of joy only becomes a memory with little or no emotion left that attaches us to it.

Hope, for most of us, operates under the same condition.

I would suggest that this is why it resonates so well when it briefly grazes over us, our spirits are lifted and, like a medicine, it cures a dis-ease. We hear or read something pro-found and it sends chills down our spine, and we can taste inspiration and hope.

Unfortunately, for some of us it is short-lived and it wanes – the hon-eymoon phase ends. At times – morning, day and night – we contin-ue a struggle to keep hope alive in our lives. But yet we often lose confidence in ourselves, in our work, we fail to reach our desires, and we fail to find “that adventure” we so desperately sought.

Worst of all, we see death. We lose loved ones. We see pictures of people who were struck by devastation. We hear and see stories of Haiti; we see hospitals that cannot treat victims and children without the resources to eat or drink. And we wonder: Is the pain and struggle worth the trial?

So we struggle for something real, something lasting and to an even greater extent something everlasting. We desire to hold on to hope, the good, and keep faith in what is in store for our future.

I adamantly believe in hope. I know it is real. I know it is worth the strug-gle and pain. This is why …

I greatly admire teachers and specifically an eighth-grade math teacher. He works with many stu-dents who have shared with him that they have no desire to learn.

He wonders what will inspire his students, and he tries, fails, tries again and fails again, and the cycle continues. It seems plausible to assume that these students do not want to learn and even more plausible they do not know why they should learn.

His resilience is strong, and I know he would never give up on these children, but at times I know the thought crosses his mind. I can sense it, but he is incapable of doing it. I want to give up for him just to keep him from despair. However, despair does not sit well with him.

There are days when he feels all hope has been lost. But he continues. Why?

The answer is simple: hope. Hope that one day a seed planted in their minds will grow and good will come from it.

This eighth-grade math teacher is my brother, and his perseverance based on hope inspires me. He strives and hopes for the good. Will he ever see the good? Maybe not, just as Moses took the Hebrew people to the edge of their promised land, yet Joshua took them in and Moses never saw it.

Does it drain his hope? No. Therefore, he patiently waits to see the success of all of his labor. This is a strong virtue that requires hope in a future – virtue few of us have: forti-tude. He runs his race well.

The most powerful exam-ple I have seen in my life comes from the story of a young girl born with cystic fibrosis.

She had an extraordinary personality, one that bright-ens a room and takes every eye’s attention. Her presence gave the sensation men-tioned above of a hope and joy that sends you into anoth-er realm without her speak-ing a word. This is something that you desire to recapture over and over.

She lived a life of hardship from birth, but she lived, and she lived gloriously. Her spir-its were never weakened from constant and long visits to hospitals and continuous bouts of pneumonia. In a strange sense, it seemed to lift them, and it lifted others around her. I cannot begin to try to understand this, as I lack the strength and courage.

Along her journey, her lungs began to fail. Her con-dition became more and more severe, and it became clear that a double lung transplant was needed. Surgery was imminent.

She died on the operating table. However, nine doctors who would not give up and would not lose hope stormed the bedside, and she was placed on three life-support machines (dialysis, ventila-tion and echmo).

At the time, it was believed that no one could survive this, but as one doctor noted, “If anyone could, she could.”

She did, and miraculously, she regained consciousness, her eyes opened, and a new life began.

She later married, and she was an unbelievable wife, daughter, sister, granddaugh-ter and friend. She spent much of her life speaking to others about her story, and she brought hope to many – many with struggles outside of medically related prob-lems and hope to cystic fibro-sis patients.

Five years after her surgery at the age of 25, she passed away for reasons I do not understand. But along her journey she brought light to those in need, hope to those who were hopeless and inspi-ration to those who were sinking. She was a true saint who fought the good, hard fight. She ran her race well.

I strive for the qualities she possessed, as they were truly gifts from the Almighty. The legend of her life still lives on, as she nor her inspiring per-sonality will be forgotten and she will always be missed.

Her name was Robyn, my beloved cousin, and she truly lived a life of hope and “a life worthy of living.”

For those of us who are still in need, including myself, we often busy up our lives to an extent that we lose sight of our surroundings. And not only of our surroundings but our souls.

Our short-lived hope stops at the end of an inspiring speech, a beautiful mountain landscape or an exceptional story of someone who did amazing things in their lives. Therefore, we fill the gap, the void, with toys, trinkets and hobbies.

This may sound cynical at first glance, but I challenge you to think hard and long about these words. What is hope, and what do we put our hope in? Where do we go when we just plainly want to give in, give up and crawl down into the deepest of holes?

Driving to Vail recently, I had an opportunity to have a conversation with a friend of mine. He told me a story of a speaker who spoke at his col-lege in 1968. At the end of his speech, he repeated over and over, “Do not stop, keep going. … Do not stop, keep going.”

The speaker’s name was Francis Schaeffer. Perhaps there is a deeper meaning in what Schaeffer said. Perhaps we have to be disciplined to our own race in this life and realize hope and success will come to us at their appropri-ate time and the rest will require waiting as my brother waits.

Or maybe we have to cap-ture the amazing gifts as my cousin did.

And lastly, maybe there is a unique type of unexplainable hope that lies and comes from above.

“Do not stop, keep going … ” and let us live a life of hope and “a life worthy of living.”

Let us run our race well.

Shane Musgrove is a part–time Vail and part-time Den-ver resident who attends the University of Colorado.

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