She is my inspiration….
On September the 10th, my aunt, Dr. Susan Willard, and her coach, Steve Jennings, will compete in the World Masters Athletic Championship in Riccione, Italy. Susie will be running the 1500 meters and Steve the 10,000 meters. Each of them will be competing against former Olympians and runners from around the world.
My aunt, competing at the age of 54, is nothing short of amazing. Strong, yet graceful, her compassion for others goes beyond the care for her patients. She will do anything in her power to assist others with their own personal goals–always supportive, yet never judging.
While her professional life has centered on helping people realize their full potential through physical fitness, she has also sought to share the message of the Lord with everyone she can. She relies on her Heavenly Father for strength, and when most would quit, it is this strength that takes her through the next mile.
Anyone who knows Susie can speak as to how their lives have been positively changed. I know my life would not be the same without her support and encouragement for all that I have done. When I feel tired, or unable to complete a goal, I think of the determination that she has shown for so many years.
I remember once, long ago, we where sitting in her car before a triathlon in Dallas. She may not even remember this, but playing in the car was the song “The River” by Garth Brooks. She pointed out to me the lyrics…..
“There’s bound to be rough waters
And I know I’ll take some falls
But with the good Lord as my captain
I can make it through them all. “
I never forgot that moment because it showed me the source of her faith. She has always led by example, and I think each of us can learn much from her insistence to never let life pass by her. She lives in the moment, making the most of each one she is blessed with.
Susie, this journey you are about to embark on will not be an easy one. But you are well trained and, most of all, you have the Lord by your side with every step you take. We are all praying for you and support you in this amazing accomplishment. I am so proud that you are my Aunt, but most of all, I am proud of what you stand for.
“But I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, his greatest fulfillment of all he holds dear, is the moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious!” -Vince Lombardi