Back when I was getting tired of playing tennis, I saw a guy run by the tennis courts every day. You could set your watch by him and I decided in a very Forrest Gump way, that I wanted to run. I started out with some guys that I met and in no time……I was a runner. I entered races and even marathons eventually, and really liked the feeling when I was finished running. Kind of like hitting yourself in the head with a hammer because it feels so good when you stop. But running became my life before I got into cycling. Even then, I still ran in the winter but eventually gave that up to preserve my knees for skiing and road cycling and mountain biking. But suffice to say, I always enjoyed running in one way or another. I passed that enthusiasm to my friend from work-Danny Sigmund.
When I first started working at Armada Supply Chain Solutions, I met Danny who was s supervisor in the warehouse. He was real friendly and liked the fact that I was into running as he was as well. He was also very interested in staying in shape and the two of us had many talks walking the warehouse floor. He taught me a lot about supply chain and how Armada fit into the McDonald’s system. I was looking for all the information I could get at the time and Danny was always willing to talk and relate his experiences in serving the system. I always joke that we work for a clown- Ronald. You know. The guy with the red hair and the big red shoes. In any event, Danny loved his work and his enthusiasm spilled over to me as a relative newcomer to his world . I was working in customer and field service and needed a lot of information and help from the warehouse and Danny was always willing to provide any help he could.
One day he took me aside and told me in confidence that he had been diagnosed with cancer. It was not good and he needed a friend in a very real way. I tried to be there for him and we had a lot of talks about the “what ifs” and how his wife and family would be affected. As his case was pretty terminal, I felt the need to share my faith with him to explain the Good News and that there was a better world waiting for him if he was willing to believe. I gave him a very treasured picture in a little silver frame that my wife Janet had given to me. It was a picture of a runner with the verse from Paul’s letter to the Phillipians. Phillipians 3 verses 13-14 which talks about running the race and seeking the prize in Christ Jesus. You can see it above and below. I treasured this piece because it was from Janet and featured a scripture that referenced running. I gave it to Danny and told him the story about how Janet had given it to me. He was touched and appreciated the gesture and took it home as a reminder to stay the course and trust the Lord in all things – even with this very grim diagnosis.
Danny eventually succumbed to his illness and we were all distraught at work because we had lost such a good guy and a brave and relentless fighter. Danny’s wife was so appreciative of all the nice gestures from the company and the many friends that Danny had made there. Then the unthinkable happened. A few weeks after the funeral, Danny’s house burned down and virtually nothing was left. His family was devastated and everyone once again went into overdrive to help his family. It is amazing how tragedy follows some people and I really felt for the Sigmund family in a most heartfelt way. There was really nothing you could say that could possibly comfort them after the tragic loss of their husband and father and unthinkable devastation of losing a house to a fire. We all did our best at the company but after a time, the focus kind of waned and life kind of moved on. I tried to keep in touch but after a while, the Sigmunds regrouped and went on with their lives.
A while later, I received a letter from Danny’s wife and it was enclosed in a box containing my framed verse from Phillipians. I was stunned as I kind of forgot about it but was so glad to see it. The letter said that the picture meant so much to Danny as he explained to the family that it came from my wife Janet. They went on to describe in the letter that everything in their house was basically destroyed with the exception of a very few things which included this little frame and verse. They were amazed that it survived the fire and wanted me to have it back. We all chatted a few times after that and now that framed picture is sitting on my bookcase reminding me to run for the ultimate prize. It also reminds me of my wife Janet and her kindness. And finally Danny, who was comforted in his last days with the uplifting and positive message from the apostle Paul.
This taught me some lessons. Always share your faith because you never know when or how much your care and concern will matter. Share your treasures with your friends as they will most likely need them more than you. And finally, always be that friend to someone in need- no matter what. Even if it is inconvenient, late in the day, at a bad time, whatever. Be that friend that you can count on. Keep running that race. Thanks for reading.