Four and a half years ago, I had just finished the worst week of my life. After a long battle with cancer, my mom passed away. Watching her give up the fight was filled with excruciating pain both on her part and on the part of the rest of my family. It’s difficult to watch someone you love suffer. And then on the night of her funeral my wife called and told me she wanted a divorce. We had been college sweethearts and married less than a year.
And so began the long and difficult climb up out of darkness. Maybe it was around this time that I conceived the idea to run across the country. Yes, run – not drive or fly or bike.
Growing up my parents taught me the value of life, prayer and faith. Running was also an outlet for my frustrations. My mom used to drag my brother and sister and I to the high school track during the hot summer months early in the morning to run. It was then that the impression of my mother praying during her runs was stamped on my memory. I ended up running cross-country in high school and on an intramural team at the University of Notre Dame, where I attended college.
Since my mom passed away, I have run for charity, raised money for breast cancer research and leukemia and other causes. When I thought about what I would be running for when I decided to run across the United States, I wanted to do something different. I wanted to be an example to others, to inspire others to bring their worries and concerns to God in prayer. So I decided to take prayer intentions and would pray individually for each intention as I ran mile after mile after mile.
The world is so in need of prayer as I have found since I started my run in January in California. I have run over 3,200 miles so far and have just under 450 to go to my destination in New York and yet the requests continue pouring in – for family, that loved ones find jobs, for children who are sick, for spouses, aunts, uncles, sisters and brothers. The list goes on.
Even when my mom was suffering, she found the strength to pray for and take action for life. Worn out from chemotherapy and radiation treatment, she publicly spoke at a rally against stem cell research in Trenton, New Jersey. She worked for a pro-life Congressman in the state and was always more than happy to tell people about how precious life is and not to take it for granted.
Some of the earliest memories I have of volunteering were at the Family Life Office in New Jersey, stuffing envelopes for pro-life mailings. When I was a teenager, my mom became unexpectedly pregnant. She had had a very difficult pregnancy with my youngest living brother and her doctors had advised her not to get pregnant again or it could cost her life; but her and my dad set an example for our family and said that abortion was never an option with this latest pregnancy. My mom miscarried in her first trimester but I will never forget the strong foundation of supporting life in all its stages that my parents, especially my mom, laid out for me.
On my runs I often pray for the unborn, those who have no voice. I recently became an uncle for the first time and seeing my little niece brings the kind of joy that penetrates my heart and soul, into spaces I didn’t even know existed. She was once, not long ago, a tiny unborn baby and I pray for all those who are like she was, but never got the chance to live.
Running across the country has been an amazing experience and I can’t wait to finish, to know I accomplished a huge challenge with the help of many, many people who have been praying for me. I can certainly feel those prayers as I put one foot in front of the other and know my mom is watching over me. I can only hope my example spurs others to action, to prayer, for themselves, their families, friends, and for the gift of life.
LifeNews.com Note: Jeff Grabosky is 28-years-old and is currently running across the country, aiming to finish in late May. His website is www.jeffrunsamerica.com.