PART 4: The Big Show or A Whirlwind of Thanks
I kept telling people, with the magical success of everything unfolding before our eyes and the eyes of our now-snowy little burg, that it felt like being smack dab in the middle of God’s plan for my entire life. I think I was right on that point.
At this time, IronLine race weekend was such a blur. Question after question. Shaking hands. Checking in with the mushers. My background in concert logistics and “glad-handing” came in quite handy—working the crowd, the community, the mayor, the area representative, and all the staff and volunteers. At one point, somewhere in the midst of big, barky trucks parking, vet checks and registration closing…I was manning two radios and my cell phone. What is the rule on this? How long is the trail…really? do you have a dead dog policy? What!? Where is the Race Marshall? Why won’t the Trail Boss answer his phone? I don’t know!!! There were ice fishing holes on the lake section. Some trail markers fell down. One musher missed the trail and ran his sled down the road and hit himself in the head with his snow hook. Crap. Somebody else lost his temper! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Too much!
Hey Josh, there’s nothing you can do!
Hey Josh, have fun.
Hey Josh, why didn’t you answer your phone?
Hey Josh…hey Josh…HEY JOSH!!!
Looking back, I kind of like to ramp things up a bit and feed off of the crazy. But, honestly, this huge Indiana Jones-sized ball was rolling and this race was gonna happen whether I did my job, went nuts, or walked home and took a nap (which I DIDN’T do). I was so, terribly overloaded and almost trying to stress and worry about the 1,192 logistical problems that were posed to me in person or babbled or barked over the radio. But, at some point on Friday night, I just went silent…peace ensued, and then everything just HAPPENED. (Insert special thanks to Todd Brassard, Lyle Ross, & many others far more level-headed than me).
The peace that passes understanding. Things shouldn’t just happen, but, with a ton of good people and very decent planning, plus the Lord…it sorta-kinda—just did.
So many kind and somewhat bewildered folks stopped, looked around, patted us all on the back and gave their congratulation or simply communicated thanks. Really, to sum up this oddball, whacky event for our little town, it became a whirlwind of thanks. People thanking us. Us thanking the mushers. The mushers thanking us and the volunteers. The city thanking us. Sponsors excited and also thankful. And us, starry eyed, thanking God as much as humanly possible.
And what did I go and do? Well, at the prompting and setup of my loving wife and coconspirator Grace, we stopped at the end of the opening ceremonies and prayed. We thanked Jesus for His help and for the snow, and for safety. Probably one of the most vulnerable moments I have had in a while, but it seemed like the whole night and the crowd and the mushers and the entire race just stood still for 80 seconds as we gave glory. And that’s what it was all about. Later, we ended up having many conversations about our good hearts and willingness to open the event and the community up to prayer. Honestly, it couldn’t have gone better for me personally.
The Lord is good—in the end—to those that trust in Him. And now, a struggling U.P. town has something to hang on to. People are excited. Christians are empowered to be honest and real with the world around them. And lastly, we had a blast, hooting and hollering and watching dogs run and feeling the pitch of everything that makes sled dog racing so, dare-I-say, magical.
So, hey, thanks to all of you out there who were a part of this wild IronLine idea at any point. Whether musher or volunteer or supporter or sponsor or prayer warrior or our friends and community, thank you. And thank YOU,my Holy Father for Your faultless wisdom and Your heart full of fire and love for Iron River, Michigan.