We are so psyched. We have watched the teaser-trailer at least thirty-six times. The eerie music that accompanies the twins gives me goose-pimples. And, frankly, I can't get enough of Cap. When I do those silly Buzzfeed quizzes (yes, I admit it), Cap is usually my "soulmate". That's about right. Of course, if I had the Black Widow physique to go with it, life would be complete. The only thing that stands between me and Natasha Romanoff is that batch of homemade chocolate chip cookies for which my boys begged. Yup.
Avengers fever has hit this house hard. However, there is another group of heroes, generally unsung, for which May 1 is a date of significance. Today is the opening day of registration for the Heroes of St. Jude. Be it the 5K, Marathon Relay, Half, or the Full, these folks (and yes, I count it a privilege to have been in this company) will fund-raise with their feet, sweat, lose toenails, and consume more bottles of Gatorade than a sweaty linebacker in mid-July drills. It's what you do. Why? Because there are those who are running a race that makes those miles seem like nothing.
And, there are those who have finished that part of the course--having traveled the path that leaves a child-size hole in your heart. And at the dinner table. Then, an entirely new challenge of strength and endurance begins. "Be strong and take heart..." (Psalm 31:24)
Belle went home to be with Jesus almost four months ago now. The outpouring of love, grace, and compassion continues to overwhelm even those of us who are on the outside looking in. Belle's irresistible charisma and zest for life, whether she was singing Alicia Keys into her corndog microphone or making crazy faces with her Daddy, reminds us that while "weeping may tarry in the night, joy comes in the morning" (Psalm 30:5). Hers is a story, a life, that will continue to touch those she knew--and those she never met--for a long time to come.
Someone in my house will tackle the Marathon this year. Not because this person ever had a desire to do a marathon--let's be honest, that's just nuts. Running 26.2 miles, without stopping, that's not rational. But, because he wants to honor Belle's memory and the marathon that the Mitchell family has endured. Lord willing, the creek don't rise, and the Asics continue to meet the road, of course. I will embrace my true gifts--that of chief encourager, endearingly persistent fundraiser, and transporter of rehydration liquids! My in-house hero. My Cap.
But, for all of us connected-by-heart to St. Jude, the true heroes are the ones for whom we have run--and will continue to do so. They are the rock stars. The ultimate Avengers.