| from John Hannigan |

“Just make it to Epcot and they won’t pick you up!” I heard Melissa’s voice in my head. I was pushing myself through my first 19.3 mile “run” and it was almost over. We had come to conquer this together, but I had implored her to run ahead so she would get her medal and her glory!

I was ready to die, it was less of a run and more of a walk, maybe a strut or possibly a crawl, quite frankly I can’t really recall. I do remember looking at the man on the bike next to me as I cried, not really knowing why, but tears were coming. He was encouraging me, telling me to just keep one foot in front of the other.  

Then it was a mile later and I was in the middle of Epcot. I thought my legs may fall off and I literally couldn’t bend my knees. “Jump on to the golf cart and she’ll give you a lift,” the man told me to pull my knees to my chest to loosen my muscles. And there I sat, exhausted, defeated, and thinking my goal was gone.  

“Okay, jump off sir, you gotta finish this!” The lady driving the golf cart had stopped the cart and was letting me off. As I limped toward the finish line another man ran past me as if he had been running the whole time. I looked at him and thought, well, I’m last. I put my head down and pushed and then I looked up to see people cheering, confetti cannons popping, and photographers taking my picture. It was amazing.

You would have thought I won the race. I didn’t; I was last place, but it was good. I finished, not on my own, but with a lot of help and encouragement. But I finished.  

How often do we want to give up because the finish line looks too far away? How many times have we refused help and given up instead? Finishing is just that, it’s finishing. Not everything should be about being first, or doing it alone. Being willing to take help and move one foot in front of the other matters.

My kids look at this picture and laugh. I hope they see a dad who won’t give up, even when it’s hard, when I need encouragement, and when I need help. Lord, I pray that I show my kids that help is okay, that encouragement is needed, and that finishing is always more important than being first. Matthew 20:16 says that the last shall be first. I realized that at this race, my last place finish was celebrated just as much as the first place victory. Because it was my victory!

Whatever race you’re running, finish it! Run with endurance, and teach your kids to push even when it’s hard. Because in the end, it is totally worth it, sore legs and all!

John Hannigan has been passionate about helping both businesses and families for over twenty years. Married to his best friend, Melissa, and father to four wonderful kiddos, John’s passion and zest for life keeps him and his family always ready for the next adventure. Whether he is leading mission trips to Puerto Rico, serving families in his local church, guiding strategy and vision sessions with his clients, or taking his family on a spontaneous trip while keeping everyone laughing, John glorifies God each day by using the talents and gifts he has been given. He is excited to contribute to the Celebrate Kids team!