The Marathon That Matters


A few weeks ago, new school year looming ahead, I engaged in the annual shopping pilgrimage with my grandchildren. Shopping is a euphemism for me standing by with the cash while many changes of clothing result in a cart full of essential wardrobe pieces and a few bonus items. With shopping out of the way, we are then free to go to a favorite restaurant and talk about summer past and school future. Now in tweens and teens fashion, I started this tradition when their clothing was made by Jumping Beans and Gymboree. My grandchildren have my heart, unconditional love, my acceptance, and I’m proud of them. They are people. People matter. They matter.

I know that isn’t real life for everyone. We all have the same basic need to be accepted and assured we have significance, but for many people the deficit down in their soul is austere loneliness. They question their purpose and wonder if their life matters. I want you to know right now. Life matters. You matter.

I was born with a heart condition. Not the physical heart that pumps blood and oxygen to my cells, but the heart comprised of mind, emotions, conscience and will. My heart that craves fairness, desires equality, and wants everyone’s little world to be perfect. It’s devastating to learn about someone tormented by bullying, persecuted, cruelly mistreated by friends, or rejected by their families. The condition of my heart says, that should never happen. People are not animals that eat their young. People should not be victimized by people. My sense of fairness says, as we wish to be treated, so we should treat others. People matter. You matter.

you-matterThink for a moment over the past year. I hope you’ve come to this place with no worries or burdens, but maybe, like me, you’ve had many close friends who have been squeezed through the mill of personal trauma. In every instance these families have been pulled into circumstances beyond what they could conceive. Terminal illnesses, stroke, broken relationships, car accident, suicide – all forms of altered lifestyles thrust upon them without warning. Emotions become a troubled web of fear, anger, worry, depression, sadness, and raw feelings. Humanly speaking these friends and families are enduring more than they signed up for. People, especially those dealing with more than their share of oppression, need to feel valued and that they can be transparent without being a burden. People who devote their lives, sometimes 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, need assurance that supportive efforts done in secret are appreciated. People matter. You matter.

During the shopping trip where this conversation started, I wondered about the environment at our schools. Are the teachers thoughtful and do they teach respect, acceptance, and good values while they explain mathematic equations and historical facts? Do the administrators care about ethics and sound character as much as academic principles? Students are not mass-produced robots with the same personalities, talents, interests, and abilities. Teachers are not cut from the same pattern either. How do our schools handle diversity in this dynamic mix of human beings with a wide age gap and deep social chasm? Schools succeed when they recognize the basic tenet – People matter. You matter.

We work hard in America. Studies have shown that working adults put in more than 40 hours at work, then go home work some more. I have talked to teenagers who go to school all day and hold down 2 or more part-time jobs in the evening and on weekends. I have friends who have taken aging parents into their homes to provide round the clock care. Our men and women in the military give up their freedoms of being able to go where they want to go anytime they wish. They give up their right to quit a job and find something that better suits their lifestyle. Parents sacrifice their wants to provide food, shelter, and a good education for their children. Do you ever feel like you give and give and give some more? In exhaustion we wonder, “When is it my turn? Why is this so hard? Does anyone notice? Do I matter?” Yes, dear friend. You matter.

If you use social media at all, you might wonder, as I do, why we so easily follow our train of thought right off track and into the pit of, “Do I matter?” After all, there are affirmations of worth all around us. Here are some quotes I’ve read just in the past week on plaques, posts, and backs of t-shirts. My eyes drink in the words intended to fill my soul – if I would believe them, they would be a positive remedy for negativity. What is in your heart as you read these affirming statements? One of my favorites is, “Be strong. You never know who you are inspiring.” But let’s tip toe through a few others and see if they pull positive thoughts to the forefront of your mind where the next step is action.

“This is the best day ever.” We choose our attitude.

“Start unknown. Finish unforgettable.”

“Has anyone told you how awesome you are?”

“Be yourself. Be awesome.”

“Never let success go to your head and never let failure get to your heart.”

“The only time you should look back is to see how far you’ve come.”

“Dream it. Believe it. Achieve it.” And to this, I would add – “Don’t just wish for it, work for it.”

“Sometimes we have to make our own sunshine.” Yes. Yes. We do. And this is where my thoughts are going with this. The way to make sunshine is to joy up the day for someone else. The way to ignite the joy in yourself is to kindle it, share it, with other people. Make it your practice to tell people they matter. People matter. You matter.

you-matter-marathon-image-1There’s a way to get started and it’s as easy as joining the You Matter Marathon. There is no running, not even jogging. And you won’t measure miles or clock your time either.

The You Matter Marathon is fully explained here I could reiterate the program, but why not take a moment now and visit the website where you can learn the details, order your You Matter Cards and get the entire timeline for this event. If you have more questions than are answered on the website, you can contact Cheryl Rice, the founder of You Matter Marathon at her email address. [email protected]

Let us be kind to one another, for everyone we meet is fighting a hard battle.

-–Ian MacLaren


Jane Anderson
Jane Anderson
JANE’s professional experience is scattered across industries from financial services and insurance to engineering and manufacturing. Jane sees her background in writing and editing website content as the foundation to her current love of social media. Being an avid reader, meticulous note taker and lifelong learner has fostered her natural pursuit of sharing her world through writing. Reading books and summarizing content started as a hobby and has since grown to be a major part of her vocational experience. Jane says, “Authors pour their heart and soul into writing their book. When I write a review, it’s with intent to celebrate the book and promote the author.” Jane claims to be 'the best follower you'll ever want to meet' and has been repeatedly called servant leader, eternal cheerleader, social media evangelist, and inspirational go-to person. Jane is a contributing author to the inspiring book Chaos to Clarity: Sacred Stories of Transformational Change.

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  1. Jane: I think it is called idealism. Yes, we all wish that life could be the proverbial bed of roses, but that isn’t the real world. We are all subject to illness, accident, and other crisis that are thrust upon us. However, having said that I would also add that we humans make much of our own misery. Hate, divisiveness, selfishness, war, and the list goes on and on.

    But, I get your point and it is quite valid. Everyone is subject to getting hammered down to the point that it is hard to see that you matter to anyone and even to self. I am a firm believer in your first quote about you never know who you are impacting. That influence can be either good or bad, but it will be there for someone every day. That alone means that we each matter.