This Saturday morning started early. Really early.
She had a race to run...
She left the house at 6:15 to get there in time to register.
It was the first race she has ever run...
The night before she had been a little anxious. Would she run well? Would she place well? She had sat in my room and talked to me about what the next morning held in store for her. I told her not to worry about the placement. Just make sure you finish. Always finish.
I got there in time to take pictures and make sure she was ready for the race. It had been her exercise buddy's idea for them to do it. Abbey had wondered if she could do it; we had told her to go for it.
She did. Now she was standing at behind the starting line. Waiting. Instructions were given. Then they took a moment to pray for the race. The sun was shinning down and the morning air was brisk; but not cold.
Finally the moment came. On your marks, get set, go...
She was off. Her first 5K.
I went and waited for her at the finish line. I watched as runner came by me, winded; but close to the finish line. There were bystanders on the grass and when a runner would come by they would start clapping. I am not sure what it was; but something came over me.
It was the analogy of life. We all have a race that we are running. Someday, we do not know when, the race will officially be over. We will breathe our last breath and finish the last mile. Until then we are told to run.
I watched as the runners came by. One runner was holding onto the hand of a little girl. They were running together. Again I was overcome with emotion. The picture of life. Standing next to someone who is younger and helping them through the race. A Dad ran along side his little girl. They finished together. He had run races before; he could have finished in better time - but today he ran with her. His finish time was not as low as it could have been; but his daughter's was higher than it had ever been. They finished together.
I watched; and was glad I had sunglasses on because there were tears in my eyes.
Then a runner approached where I was standing. She had run good; she was almost there. I could see the finish line from where I was standing. It was just up ahead. She had run long and hard; but she was tired. Too tired. She stopped in front of me. She put her hands on her knees and bent over gasping for air; and as she did she kept saying, "I can't go anymore... I can't do this..." I watched as she struggled. She looked up towards the finish line, then shook her head again, "I can't..."
Then from the sidelines two other runners who had finished ran up to her. I am not even sure they knew who she was. They saw that she was tired, spent and discouraged. One runner went over to her left side - the other runner to her right. They put her tired hands in theirs - each hand was grasped by a runner who had already finished their race. "You can do this. You will finish. We will finish together."
And, together they ran. One on her right side, the other on her left side - the tired runner in the middle. She did not sprint in - she slowly trotted in with help from other runners who saw that she needed help and encouragement. I was overwhelmed.
Is this not the Christian life? Those who are strong coming up along the ones who are weak and needing help - placing their hands in our and running towards the finish line. As the trio approached the finish line I thought about the many times in my life when people have come up along beside and told me that I could do the task I needed to do. I thought about the countless times when I have read either in God's Word or in a biography of a Christian who did much for God and was challenged that I too could finish.
Hebrews 11 came into clear view as I watched the three cross the finish line and heard the cheers of those standing in the sidelines.
Then, I looked back over the horizon. There she was! Running. By herself and running.
I watched as she passed me. Winded. Tired. But still she ran - and she finished!
I was so proud of her! Proud of what she was doing. Proud of the fact that she had run - she had dared to do something that she was unsure she could complete. She did it!
I cheered as she passed me and hugged her when she passed the finish line.
Each of us has a race we are supposed to run every single day. I want to finish mine. I want when I go to bed at night to know I accomplished what I was supposed to do that day. Because someday all of those little daily races will be done. My life will be over. I want to finish strong. I want to help others finish their race.
When I got to Abbey at the finish line she told me that she wants me to run one with her. Ummm... I think, perhaps, I just might...
Have a great weekend. Thanks for stopping by, I am so glad you did!