On Lemons and their Progeny

Whatever may happen to thee, it was prepared for thee from all eternity; and the implication of causes was from eternity spinning the thread of thy being.

— Marcus Aurelius

Gina McReynolds, the wife of a close friend, passed away of breast cancer in 2012, survived by her husband and their three adorable children. The youngest of these children was born a month after her diagnosis. Her and her family’s story is one of trial, hope, loss, and the search for a new normalcy; of facing head-on the joint specter of cancer, chemotherapy, mastectomy, and pregnancy; and of a lasting legacy of community, charity, and good works in her name.

God is the only one who knows what my future holds. I will pray for the impossible but will accept my journey ahead the best I can. There will be great days and there will be very hard days. With all the wonderful support from my family and friends, I know I will be OK.

— Gina McReynolds

Ravel — Panane pour une infante défunte (played by Collard)

The struggle and loss of one so loved can be a trial like no other. Cancer does not always follow rhyme or reason, and such rebellion of one’s body carries with it the weight of helplessness and questions of why. The stoic philosophers were believers in determinism, that we should accept the challenges brought before us, nay even relish them, for they were the will of Zeus and through perseverance we became better men. Gina demonstrated in her poise and her writings a bravery and stoic acceptance of what she could not control, never giving up her hope for a cure.

Consider it a joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

James 1:2–4

When her days were darkest, when cancer metastasized first to her lungs and then her brain, it became clear to her doctors and family that conventional treatments were not enough. An out of state experimental medical trial was found and joined. As the bills and expenses mounted, some friends began searching for ways to help. A fundraiser, a charity golf tournament was proposed, and quickly coalesced from abstract to concrete plans. Gina had one condition, she would accept this contribution only if it was agreed to open the charity to others in her circumstances as well. From this request was born the Gina McReynolds Foundation.

The Gina McReynolds Foundation

What use is it, my brethren, if someone has faith but he has no works?

James 2:14

In his book The History of Western Philosophy, Bertrand Russell attempts to reconcile the inherent contradiction of the stoic beliefs in determinism and free will as follows: “When the divine part of a man exercises will virtuously, this will is part of God’s, which is free; therefore in these circumstances the human will is also free.” While logically inconsistent, it is still a beautiful thought.

image via Orange County National

Six short years later the Gina McReynolds Foundation, managed by all volunteers, has helped many women fighting breast cancer, mostly young mothers, by providing financial support and counseling. They hold an amazingly polished annual golf tournament in Orlando that has sold out every year, growing from 18 raggedy to 36 five star holes along the way (now at the top rated public course in Florida!), and have so far provided support to 31 central Florida families and growing. The enthusiasm for the events have grown such that it can no longer be contained on the golf course. A post-round free outdoor concert is now incorporated into the festivities, and even if you’re not a golfer the dancing and celebration are top notch. You can learn more about the charity, sign up as a sponsor, register for this year’s tournament (noon April 8th, 2017 in Orlando), or RSVP to an awesome free concert following (donations accepted, featuring Tallahassee’s Tobacco Road Band with CMT Recording Artist Eric Durrance!) at teamgina.org. It will be a great time and all are welcome!!

Pearl Jam — Oceans

*For further readings please check out my Table of Contents, Book Recommendations, and Music Recommendations.

Books that were referenced here or otherwise inspired this post:

Meditations — Marcus Aurelius


The History of Western Philosophy — Bertrand Russell

The History of Western Philosophy

Five Lessons — Ben Hogan

Five Lessons

(As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)

Albums that were referenced here or otherwise inspired this post:

Ten — Pearl Jam


(As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)

For further readings please check out my Table of Contents, Book Recommendations, and Music Recommendations.




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Nicholas Teague

Nicholas Teague

Writing for fun and because it helps me organize my thoughts. I also write software to prepare data for machine learning at automunge.com. Consistently unique.

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