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  • Writer's pictureRachel Bennett

My Uncle Steve.....

My Uncle Steve was a pretty amazing guy. All of my Aunts and Uncles are/were. I honestly have a pretty amazing family in general…. in my personal opinion. But today I'm reflecting on this one man. He played with us when we were kids… his two daughters and me and my little brother. He talked to us like we were equals, until it was time to not talk to us like we were equals. We thought he was cool because he was in the Army and flew helicopters. But there was a particular day that made a very big impression on me. It was the day that I saw him go run.

It was not a special day. Just a normal day. I heard him tell my Aunt Eileen that he was going out for a run and would be back later. I was probably in my early twenties and there in town on a visit with my Mom. I remember thinking that was a pretty cool but pretty rare thing to see someone over 50 just go and run in the middle of the day for exercise. As I caught a glimpse of him out the window when he returned to the house, he didn't seem like he struggled. It didn't seem like a chore. It was just something that he did. I remember thinking how cool would that be to just go do something like that? To me it was cool. It was also very foreign. At that point I could hardly walk a mile let alone run one… or 3. I didn't eat well, I rarely exercised, and I know I didn't drink enough water. I wasn't comfortable in my own skin, but somewhere inside I desperately wanted to be like one of those annoyingly healthy people. Like my Uncle Steve. Even if he did wear those weird bright yellow and very short running shorts.

About 20 years later we entered into the pandemic. At this point I hadn't talked to Uncle Steve in a while, but all of the cousins were sticking close. I had gotten to a point where my health was on track. I'd lost a lot of weight, started making exercise a part of my routine. I had actually become one of those annoyingly healthy people… but now I had no gym. I had to get creative. I started to run. It was short to start, but in about 7 months I'd run a 10k. And then I committed to doing a half marathon. And I was running 3 miles as training… not an event. This was when I started to remember that day that I admired my Uncle Steve for doing what I then thought was impossible. I had become that person I'd admired. Where I told the guys that I was going to go out for a run… and I just did it. Just a few years before I would have thought I was crazy, but now look at me. Something I couldn't do in the 8th grade, was now something I did all the time. And I also did it in some very short and very bright running shorts.

I had a chance to tell him last year how he's inspired me and that when I ran I thought of him often. And he encouraged me to keep going as long as I could. And that it's not easy, but we can do that tough things with God encouraging us to move forward. And he was right. We can do the tough things.

Today I remember him and this memory because today is the day that my Uncle Steve left us. And this was the best way I could think to remember him. As my inspiration.

Who inspires you? Do they know that they do? I challenge you to tell them today. Tell them why they inspire you and what you're doing because of it.

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