Sunday, April 8, 2012
I remember sitting in Dan Spencer's theology class, full of frustration and disappointment as another leader in our church came tumbling down as they succumb to the desires of their flesh. I decided to bite the bullet. I raised my hand and asked THE one question we were NEVER supposed to utter. I said, "Mr. Spencer... how do you really know Christianity is the way to heaven? We believe that because we were raised in it. But the Jews feel the same way about their beliefs. And so do the Muslims. And the Hindus. And every other form of religion out there. How do you know we aren't just being brainwashed?"
Had I asked this of any other teacher, I probably would have been expelled on the spot. As soon as I said the words, the tension in the room increased measurably. Fortunately, I had a father that believed it was healthy, nay wise, to question things we didn't understand, so he would have supported my decision to question this. Also fortunately, Mr. Spencer LOVED inquisitive minds and encouraged us to ask these questions.
Mr. Spencer looked at me and smiled and said, "Good question". He then answered it with a short lesson in the history of Christianity and how we can know Jesus actually walked this earth and did the things recorded in the Bible. He also talked about other religions iconic leaders and how history records their lives and actions. There is no question that Jesus, Buddha, and Mohammad existed. So how do we know Jesus is really our Savior? He wrapped it up with the simplest and yet most profound answer. He said, "Shelli, our God is the only one that defeated death when HE rose from the grave".
That hit me like a ton of bricks. Please understand I had heard this most of my childhood so this was not a new revelation to me but it was the first time it hit me personally. Those other leaders were great men that did great things but Jesus actually defeated death when He rose from the grave.
That moment was my Aha! moment in my religious beliefs. I knew I would not stay in that denomination once I was free to make that decision for myself. I knew there were still a lot of things I questioned regarding the things I was taught. But I also knew I had found a fact that I could cling to as my foundation.
My God defeated death and rose from the grave so that I may have eternal life.
Sunday, December 4, 2011
My first reaction was shock. Of all the teams they could have chosen to put on their site, they chose our arch rivals? Are you kidding me? My next response was to vocalize my frustrations. I am a social media strategist. I own a company that specializes in assisting companies and organizations with their web presence and communications. So I did what all social media geeks do. I took my grievance to Twitter. I found the Belk Bowl on Twitter and fired off this Tweet:
ShelliMayfield Shelli Mayfield
Clearly the Belk Bowl understands the power of social media because within 20 minutes I got this response:
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Do I think Joe Paterno deserved to be fired? HELL YES! Actually, I think he should be brought up on charges for failing to report it to the authorities. That also applies to anyone else that had even the faintest whiff of knowledge that children where being abused and did nothing to report it to the authorities. I don't care who you are and what title you hold. If you see anyone being abused – i.e. child abuse, bullying, domestic abuse, etc – and you don't intervene on the behalf of the victim, you are just as guilty as the perpetrator.
The final straw for me was the reaction of Penn State fans when Paterno was fired. You rioted in the streets?! I can't even begin to express my disgust that this much emotion was reserved for a leader that failed to protect innocent children. I bet these same people participated in the Occupy Movement. It is time for our society to stop worshipping men and things and power and to get back to the basics. We need a lesson in honor and integrity and morality. We need to learn to stand up for what is right, no matter what the cost. We need character.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
I can vividly remember the doctor explaining the pro's and con's of whether to risk my son's life to spare my own or to take the chance and see what happened in order to buy him more precious time within the womb. The decision to deliver my son early was aided by the fact that he was born at T C Thompson Children's Hospital at Erlanger in Chattanooga, TN. This hospital is supported, in part, by The Childrens Miracle Network. This organization raises funds that enables the hospital to provide lifesaving medical care to patients like my son. Because of others generosity, my son not only survived his traumatic birth, he has thrived and grown into a strong, tall, handsome 18-yr old young man.
Friday, June 24, 2011
You see, I am traveling as a member of the support team for Mark Allison aka Run Geordie Run. Our ultimate goal every night is not to find the best campground or RV park. Our goal is to find the safest and cheapest (preferably free) place to stay that is as close as possible to the point Mark stopped running that night. We strive for this for two reasons... #1 – we are not on vacation and it is important to remember that. We are here to work and to work hard for St Benedict's Hospice (Charity No. 1019410) and The Children's Foundation (Charity No. 1000013. We do this by providing support for Mark in whatever form that requires. The other reason we live like gypsies is because Mark is funding the cost of this run out of his own pocket. He sold his car and cashed in his savings to pay for the RV and RV essentials such as gas, dumping/water/propane charges and camping fee's when necessary. I will be the first one to tell you that when I go to Mark and tell him I need a night in a place that provides showers and full hook-ups, he is more than happy to provide that for me. In exchange, I make sure I do all of his laundry ( and the rest of the crews) while we are there.
Mark is good to me so I want to return the favor by doing everything I can do to help him save money. If this means that on days like today, when he simply could not go on and I had to make the decision to either drive to the state park and then drive back to this point in the morning OR sleep on the side of the road next to a wheat field in the middle of Kansas in order to save the money we would have spent on gas... the choice was easy. The girl inside of me that rivals Monica Gellar's organizing skills is learning to let go and just let life unfold. Who needs a shower anyway? A thunderstorm is headed this way. Maybe I'll just go dance in the rain. :-)
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Later that day, I was providing support for Mark via a rental car and as I watched him climb the hills of La Hacienda what should pop up on my iPod but “Runner On a Lonely Road”. Now granted, this happens to be one of my favorite songs and is saved on a list as such in my music library but the irony of the moment was not lost on me. I snapped this photo with that song playing in the background. As I listened to the lyrics (provided below) and watched Mark run, I was lost in one of those rare occasions of hearing the perfect song at just the right moment. Alan and his partner, Tim Readman, seem to have found a way into Mark's soul and mind and translated it into music. The song provides us mere mortals with a non-invasive way of being able to experience what it is like to be Mark Allison for a day... minus the blisters and sore calves, of course
Runner on a Lonely Road / Beneath the Angel's Wings Once More can be downloaded from
http://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/run-geordie-run-single/id361829604 .All proceeds go to the two charities.
Runner on a Lonely Road
Who knows what lies ahead for me on my way to the finish line?
The road may twist and the road may bend
But I’ll keep going till I reach the end
I’m a runner on a lonely road
Peaks and valleys, rivers to cross On my way to the finish line
Let the hard rain fall, let the cruel wind blow
Let me bear the torch, let me face the foe
I’m a runner on a lonely road
I might grow weary, I might grow weak
I might bend but I will not break
I’ll go another mile for the magpie clan
And I’ll go another mile for those mates of mine
And I’ll go another mile for the ones I love
In the darkest night I’ll see a bright light shine
Who knows what trials will come my way
On the miles to the finish line
The road may bend and the road may twist
I’ll dig deeper, I’ll clench my fist
I’m a runner on a lonely road
Sand and cactus, dry as bone
On my way to the finish line
Let the sun beat down, Let it scorch my face
Let me sweat and toil, ‘til I run this race I’m a runner on a lonely road
I might grow weary I might grow weak
I might bend but I will not break
And there’s another mile for loved ones gone
And one for the stars and the man in the moon
And there’s another mile for my heart’s delight
And there’s another mile for the Tyne and Toon
Runner on a lonely road
Saturday, May 14, 2011
I know what it is like to force yourself to put one foot in front of the other when all you want to do is stop. I know what it is like to have people publicity vocalize their doubt that you can accomplish your goal. I know what it is like to sacrifice time with my kids and my family. I know what it is like to not have a social life and to be okay with that because my thoughts are obsessed by my drive to succeed.
I know all about grueling journeys.
I have spent the last 6 years trying to earn a college degree. I entered the world of academia as a non-traditional student and endured the smirks of much younger students and the disdain of my generation who cannot imagine why in the world I would want to attempt such a thing.
I've always had a drive to exceed others expectations of me. I am not a perfectionist but I do believe that if we fail to push ourselves, we will miss opportunities for greatness. I think the thing that keeps that fire burning is to surround ourselves with like-minded people that serve as our examples and/or mentors.
That is what I have in Mark Allison. When I first met him, I was struck by how down-to-earth he really is. And how ordinary he seemed. You see, I had put Mark on a pedestal, where gods and heroes belong. And while there is nothing wrong with a l'il “hero worship”, it does tend to make that individual a little hard to relate to. I would read about his 3 day marathon and tell myself to suck it up. I felt bad about not being as tough as he is.
And then I met him... and I discovered he is very human. I watched him order a juicy hamburger and enjoy every second of it. Then I watched him do it again the next day. This time he made the choice to order a salad instead of fries as his side item but that didn't stop him from stealing some of mine. I watched him fight his nervousness when we entered a ward of sick children. I could tell the father in him wanted to run away from such sad images. I watched him struggle with dehydration and heard his yells as he soaked his feet in ice water for the first time after he finished on day one. I heard him bare his soul to a fellow traveler as he attempted to make sense of his own drive to run across the country.
For me, Mark lost his superhero status.... and that makes me happy.
He is still one of my hero's. I still look up to and admire him. But he is no longer on a pedestal where I can't reach him. Instead, he is by my side giving me words of encouragement and expressing gratitude for the littlest things. He is quick with a smile and a joke. He is genuinely concerned about my feelings . I can tell my happiness is important to him.
What this revelation of Mark's mortality has done for me is provide me with a new vision about my own future. You see, I don't have to be a superhero. I don't have to be perfect. I don't even have to achieve all my goals. The lessons I have learned from Mark are pretty simple. I do have to try. I have to do the best I can everyday and then be humble enough to know my limitations. I have to take the time to enjoy the scenery along life's road because otherwise, the journey was a waste.
If Mark can make himself get up every day and run as far as he can, then I can make myself get up every day and study while riding in the RV. If he can cross the finish line in NYC in August, then I can cross that stage in Witherspoon Hall in December.
Mark isn't Superman. He's an example of how a mere human can accomplish his dreams through determination and will power. Mark is a mentor. And that is exactly what we need in this world.