The Presence of Love

I usually end my posts with SHINE! Some, like this one, I end with the Jewish word “Shalom”. It means peace, but not the kind of peace that is roses and sunshine. Shalom is not the absence of pain but the presence of love. We cannot take away Jennifer’s pain. I can show her that she is loved. Shalom!Jeff Mulder

There’s a yellow flag on Jimmy’s bookcase. The flag has his name on it in big letters — J I M M Y — and the words “I ride for” at the top. Jeff Mulder rode 100 miles with the flag on his back, thinking about Jimmy while he rode.

Jimmy and Jeff met at the Portland LIVESTRONG Challenge in July 2008. Jimmy and Molly had raised $44,000 for the Foundation that year and were being honored as the top fundraisers. Jimmy was four rounds of intense chemotherapy into treatment for the first recurrence of his brain cancer and a month away from being hospitalized for a 30 day long hospital stay for a final round of high dose chemotherapy followed by a stem cell rescue.

The 2008 LIVESTRONG Challenge was Jeff’s first. He says Jimmy and Molly were the reason he went from LIVESTRONG enthusiast to LIVESTRONG investor. In October 2008, Jeff got to meet “that kid from Portland” in Austin, and they became fast friends. Jimmy drew strength and inspiration from the people he met at LIVESTRONG events, and Jeff was at the top of that list. Jimmy looked forward every year to seeing Jeff.

Jeff Mulder on his bicycle wearing an "I ride for Jimmy" flag down his backIn addition to raising and donating large sums of money to LIVESTRONG, Jeff rides his bike 5,000 miles a year. He rides 100 miles with a flag behind him with someone’s name on it, and he spends the ride thinking about that person, whether they’re fighting cancer or have recently passed away from cancer. Then Jeff sends the flag to the person and writes a Facebook post telling him/her how he/she inspired him and changed his life.

When he rode for Jennifer recently, he wrote about the Greek words for time — Chronos and Kairos. Chronos is time measured by a clock whereas Kairos is time measured by events that had an impact on your life. He concluded by saying, “Jennifer, I will likely never get rid of my lists or my calendar. However, as I’ve ridden this week for/with you, I have tried to look less at my Chronograph and looked more for those Kairos moments. I must admit that the sun has been brighter, the wind more refreshing, the food more tasty and my relationships just a little deeper because of you and this flag.”

In the end, it’s not the grand gestures or public displays that matter most. It’s love .. steady, strong and real. It’s a man, on a bike, in the dark, riding for a young man dying of cancer who can’t ride himself, but who feels the love .. knowing he’s not alone.

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