It’s the portion of this particular day that the kids look forward to with excitement and perhaps some anxiety… if you’re competitive, like Charlie Doyle. Mr. Murphy turns up the volume, and the music blares. He gives the kiddos a courtesy practice minute ~ and then it’s the real thing: NO MORE MISSES. If your rope stops, you stop. You sit down on your mat, no excuses. You’re out of the competition.
So after eight years of jumping in the Jump Rope for Heart arena, our family has reached the point of No More Misses. When Charlie jumped his final jump on February 10, the significance weighed on me — and just like that, the rope slipped from his fingers and it was over. He jumped exactly two weeks prior to the 1-year anniversary of his Granddaddy’s stroke, the one that ushered my father into Eternity four days later.
This event has always been special for us, for me. I have written about Why the Jump Rope Matters and Why the Jump Rope (Still) Matters. As I look forward to tomorrow, March 8th, we will celebrate our son Charlie on his 11th birthday. Like all birthdays, it will be a special day – but one birthday I will remember more than all of the others is his first – not necessarily because it’s “the big 1st”, but rather because Charlie spent it by his Granddaddy’s bedside at Vanderbilt Hospital. My Dad was awaiting a heart transplant that never came. Twelve years later, we can testify that Dad’s journey was an arduous one. And though it was a journey that ended sooner than we had hoped, the journey was also a blessed one. Dad’s final 12 years of life were a true testimony to Beauty being lived out fully… in the Messy.
That’s why Jump Rope For Heart has a deeper meaning for our family ~ It has been a personal journey watching our children participate in it over the course of the past eight years.
And this year was our last… no more misses.
Following congestive heart failure, Dad’s hope for life was a transplant. But the match never came. Days away from death, my father was life-flighted to University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, where he underwent emergency surgery and received a Novacor LVAD heart pump… instead of a heart. The heart pump saved his life. And four years later in 2011, Dad underwent another grueling surgery and received his HeartMate, Dad’s second heart pump. The heart pump saved his life… again. And four years later in 2015, Dad underwent yet another (unexpected) surgery and received his third heart pump. The heart pump saved his life again… a third time. Then on February 28, 2016, following a massive stroke four days prior, my father left this world for his eternal Home.
My Dad, Charlie Shaneyfelt,
was the longest living heart pump recipient.
The story of my father’s journey taught us all some very challenging, but life-giving lessons…
A lesson on Faith, granting us Peace, which gives us access to Grace… in which we are able to stand.
A lesson on boasting not in ourselves and in our own strength, but boasting in the hope of the glory of God. His power, made perfect in our weakness.
A lesson in believing that in in our sufferings, we find glory.
Because suffering produces perseverance.
And this year for the FIRST (and final) time, Charlie jumped in Memory of Granddaddy ~ in order to raise money for the valuable work of the American Heart Association. Charlie’s Jump Page will be active through Thursday, March 9. You can link to it by clicking his photo below. Our incomparable More-Than-a-PE-Teacher Mr. Murphy is hoping to gain the lead for our school to be the #1 school in all of Louisville for donations, and Charlie would love to help take us there… this year especially.
There are still ‘no more misses’ for thousands of faces out there.
This was just Charlie’s last… and he’s wanting to make it count.
“Above all else, guard your heart,
for it is the wellspring of life.”
~ Proverbs 4:23