Out of State Ian Fund Efforts
Quick note— Ian Fund was not forgotten while I was away! I picked up pine cones for the wreath project in Colorado (I bet they looked interesting when TSA X-rayed my luggage) and in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Plus, I made it a point to wear my Ian’s Hope bracelet (available for a $10 donation to COTA for Ian H) on my Mt. Bierstadt hike. The bracelet is pictured below on the rim of my Appalachian Trail Conservancy hat (I was showing my east coast pride).
Wearing that bracelet is a derivative of a practice I inherited from my family’s Catholism. My grandfather would “offer up” his trials, his suffering, and even his workplace frustrations for others. It seems he had a high threshold of what he’d offer up. When he first started going blind, my Aunt Julie asked him if he was offering that up. My grandfather thought for a second and replied that his pain wasn’t bad enough for that.
My father carries on that practice. To this day, I’ll hear him mention it now and then. There is also a story from his childhood. My father was outside chopping wood all day. When he returned indoors and was asked what he was doing, he did not reply that he was chopping wood. Instead he explained he was helping get a distant relative out of purgatory.
Unlike my grandfather, I have a low threshold of what I offer up. Most frequently, when I’m jogging with the dogs up a hill, I’ll think with each exhale and stride, “For Ian, For Ian, For Ian” or of others I know who are such good, genuine people but who face such hardships and sadnesses. Sometimes the queue seems too big for my piddly jogs to sustain.
I have no tangible evidence this tradition has any effect. However, if all else fails, I will continue my practice for purely selfish reasons.
It reminds me that the ache in my legs is nothing compared to the aches of others’ hearts.
It keeps me focused and driven.
It gets me up those hills.