If you made it out for last year’s Passion Ruck hosted by Skid and Kilo, you were there to witness a pretty neat experience. It was so impactful as a matter of stating, that Skid decided to do a 2nd annual, repeat performance. I will spare you the details of how I became involved to partner up with him for this go round. We’ll just say it was through the Grace of God and I needed to be involved more than Skid will know.
Our first meeting would take place at Roosters for a 2rdF event for the opening round of the NCAA tourney. Not ideal for a meeting to discuss specifics but we were surrounded by our F3 brothers, all sharing a rare afternoon away from work, enjoying basketball and each other’s company. Looking back, it was a perfect start! We had decided location(The County) , route, PT and team weight. Skid had a pretty good wienke from last year and stated that it went so well that he was going to use much of the same. There was one piece that he asked if I could handle. And coincidentally, it was an idea that I had already thought of as well. Team weight. We thought, how cool would it be if we were rucking through the neighborhoods of Pewee Valley, donning a cross upon our backs? Skid asked, “Do you think you could handle that?” I said I would be glad to take ownership over that piece. I knew the perfect person to help if he was willing….Gilligan (Jimmy Reddington). For those of you that don’t know Gilly, he is one of the nicest dudes you’ll meet. He is always willing to drop whatever he’s doing to lend a helping hand. I have personal testimony to know that’s true. On top of that, he’s a Jack of many trades, one of which is being very handy around the ole tool shed. I asked for his assistance already knowing what his answer would be. As it turns out, he had some great pieces of lumber at his work that were just waiting for us to grab up and use. As we know from our first core principle, free is always a good thing. Caveat: each piece of lumber was water logged and over 100 lbs. We would need two. Would this be too much? Would the PAX despise us for making them carry this potential beast the length of the course? Jesus was one man and carried his cross mostly alone to his imminent death. Surely, we as a team, could muster up the strength for a few miles. We took a road trip to his place of employ, loaded it up in his truck and headed to his garage for the construction.
After about three hours, and some perfectionist quality carpentry, our massive 250lb Cross would be complete. We did end up putting some castors on it just in case we would have to drop it and roll it due to the weight for any length of time. For those curious, for the nearly 3 miles, narrow sidewalks and extreme elevations we had this in tow, the cross never touched the ground. If this wasn’t enough, we would incorporate three stops along the way where we would pick up iron linked chains weighing 60lbs each courtesy of Fanny Pack.
Time now for the ruck. 8:00 pm. Location: St. Aloysius parking lot. Conditions: 40 degrees and raining. Gearlander: Rucksack with appropriate weight. Clothes to keep us warm and dry(neither applied by the end of the night).
PAX: Gizelle, LePew, Bulletin(R), Jolly Rancher, Rocky, Mama’s Boy, Gilligan, DeVito, Miyagi(CP), Crock Pot, Red Wagon, Skid(Q), BigBird(co-Q) I was hoping for a larger turnout but as Skid said, “those that would show up, were meant to be there.”
We would get under way with a reading from scripture: Luke 22: 39-46 Jesus prays on the Mount of Olives. He asked that God take the cup from him but if not, let His will be done.
Next, half hour of PT. The deck of cards. Skid asked the PAX for a workout and we would draw the card and do the number on the card. I’d explain but you’ve been through one of these before. Bulletin picked Merkins (Clubs), Jolly Rancher picked squats (Diamonds), Red wagon picked jump lunges (Hearts) and Mama’s Boy thought he’d be cute and picked Man Makers (Spades). Wouldn’t you know it? There was of course more Spades than anything else that was drawn. Pretty sure we all gave Mama some grief and a few choice words. But you know what? Jesus got scourged and had a crown of thorns placed on his head. And in one of Mama’s favorite sayings, “We don’t get out for easy!”
Next we would ruck about a quarter of a mile when the PAX would happen across the cross. There it was in all it’s 250 lb glory sitting upright and waiting for us to take it on (thanks Alexa for the help getting it there). Luke 23: 1-24. Jesus before Harrod and Pilate and is condemned to death. He learns He will carry His cross and be crucified. What followed would be something so profound, words don’t do it justice but I will sure try. Skid brought out a black Sharpie and asked the PAX to write down sins we felt guilty about or burdens that we carry through each day. Things that trouble us and we are eager to over come and forget.
We are about to carry those sins and burdens with us over the next three miles of treacherous, uneven terrain.
We would then carry the cross from that point on until we reached our final destination. It bears repeating that the cross never once touched the ground. The PAX never complained; never said it was too much. We had three stops where we would pick up the 60lb chains, continuing to add to our team weight. The point here was to make this ruck more challenging over the course of the evening. I mean, could you imagine being scourged to within inches of your life and then made to carry a cross by one’s self for who knows how long? But He never complained; never said it was too much.
As we made our turn for the final stretch, the skies seemed to open up even more and unleashed the heaviest, sideways rain of the night. Still the PAX pushed on.
Finally, we would arrive back at our starting point and were greeted by Fr. John. We were all surprised to see Fr. especially in the unbelievable conditions that the Lord had given us. He will never know how much it meant to me to see him there. We would show him a bit of what we do for Skid’s final bit of PT: The Hero’s carry for 50 yards. After that Fr. John would send us out with a prayer. There were so many touching moments throughout but I’ll share just a few: Rocky meeting us out and making sure he got everything necessary to qualify as a Ruck. Getting to know everyone deeper through some solid mumble chatter. Red Wagon rolling up with no Ruck sack but carrying one of the 60lb chains the entire way by himself. And finally, LePew thanking everyone over and over exclaiming how awesome this was.
Skid had one more surprise for us and this was truly the “cherry on top.” He pulled out some red paint and asked us all, one by one, to paint over our sins and burdens leaving them here. Leaving them for this night. Leaving them to be forgotten and forgiven in some small way, similar to how Jesus died for us to forgive us from our sins. Something really unbelievable happened over the next course of a couple of days as the cross stayed in its position for all to see. With all of the rain, the paint had washed off. But also, so did all of our inscriptions of our burdens and the only thing to remain: The inscription: “Passion Ruck 2019.”
I love you men!
Until next year: