Members of our family had the privilege of joining more than 9,000 men, women and young people in last weekend’s Susan G. Komen “Race for the Cure” in Chattanooga to fight breast cancer. We did so celebrating the fact my wife, Sally, was among the more than 100 survivors in attendance.
It was heartening to see these courageous women (and a few men) gathered together, adorned in bright pink t-shirts and pink ribbons symbolizing the cause. Special pink beads represented years of survivorship, and it was fun seeing some women with upwards of 20 strands hanging around their necks.
Events like this serve multiple purposes: There’s the fund-raising aspect, raising many thousands of dollars for breast cancer research. There is also the gratification of being involved in a cause bigger than oneself. As it says in Ecclesiastes 4:12, “a cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” In other words, there is great strength in numbers.
A third benefit is the encouragement those dealing with such adversity receive in meeting others that have confronted – and conquered – the disease. In 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 we are reminded of “…the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” This is one reason I continue to volunteer at a local hospital, visiting patients who – as I did about five years ago – have just undergone open-heart surgery.
And yet another benefit is gaining the sense that whatever challenge we are facing, we’re not in it alone. That there are others willing to come alongside to offer support, words of hope, and their prayers. This is a responsibility all of us that follow Jesus share: “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).
Life is so much richer when we realize we’re not here just for ourselves, but also for others. It is in the giving that we receive the most.