Our Place in This Race

For those of you who are familiar with my blog, you will remember that I am inspired by track meets.  I am not sure why. I know many moms who dread them and can not find an inspiring thing about them. I did not run track so it is not near and dear to my heart. I am not an athlete so I don't understand the ins and outs of training and competing. The fact is, however, that every time I attend one, I see great illustrations of real-life lessons.

This week, I was at two different meets. One was a Junior Varsity meet, which consists of mostly Freshman and Sophomores in High School. There are, of course, exceptions, and our daughter, Jenna, is one of them. First, a bit of background, and my apologies ahead of time for being so personal. She is a Senior this year (graduating in TWO WEEKS!). She suffered an injury in December, 2008 and after two surgeries that were less than successful, lives with much pain, a limp in her step and great discouragement.  She LOVES to run. When that was taken away she was angry and disappointed and frustrated and, well, the adjectives could go on, but suffice it to say, most of them are not good. This year, like last, she was not going to run track. It was not because she couldn't run, but because she knew she would not be able to run as well as she did when she was a Freshman. She didn't want to end her High School running career like that. However, a friend of hers convinced her to do what no parent or coach was able to… to run for fun… to run because she loves to run and not for competition sake.  She announced her decision and slowly started running again. Coaches were concerned about reinjury and discouragement as she was faced with competition. So, they decided to have her run in a couple of Junior Varsity meets. She was embarrassed, and not real excited, but understood and complied.

On Monday, Jenna ran the mile, the 800 meter and the 4×400 relay. She took first in both the mile and the 800 meters, but ran her worst times ever. There was no other runner even near her at the finish line. As she crossed the finish line {to a victory more significant than a single race at an obscure track meet}, she turned around and waited for every other competitor to finish the race. When they did, she high-fived them, congratulated them, or encouraged them with a hand on the shoulder, a hug, or  a kind word. She was deliberate and intentional. She waited there until every last girl had completed the race. I was inspired by her. Where does that stuff come from… graciousness in the face of disappointment, humility in the midst of victory? I talk with her after each race and asked her about what I had seen. She said she learned it from another runner that she admired when she was a part of a track club that eventually went to Nationals. She said Annie, (who won the majority of races that she ran)  had told her, that as long as she could still stand and breathe when she crossed the finish line, that she would encourage others. Jenna had learned that lesson well and implemented it with poise. 

That Junior Varsity meet was in sharp contrast to yesterday's meet. After Monday's JV meet, her coaches released her to run in her first Varsity meet since her injury. There were fourteen other schools there, with some incredibly talented runners. She came in 5th in the mile and 10th in the 800 meters. Her times, though, were both better than her JV meet. I know by now, you may be saying to yourself, 'And why do we need to know these insignificant details?' To me, it is not such a stretch to see the similarities in our lives.

For instance, where is your place in this marathon called life? Are you at the top of your game compared to  those not as experienced, quick or as capable as you? Do you enjoy contending for and befriending the 'underdog?' Do you glory in your abilities or do you stand at the finish and congratulate each one? Or, are you running with the big girls, doing your best, but never doing quite good enough to medal? Are there tears that no one sees, as you feel that you will never measure up? Are you spending your time and efforts doing your best or comparing yourselves with others?

Finally, the bottom line is this. There are as many "stories" as there are athletes on the track. Jenna is not the only one. Look around your workplace, your classrooms, or your homes. Everyone has their own story. Many of us have been injured. Some of us have quit. Most of us keep going – persevering through disappointment. Just as it was an accomplishment for Jenna to be on the track at all, it is just as big of an accomplishment for every runner to finish, no matter what their time or place is. I want to applaud every kid out there finishing the race. It's not so different from why I take the time to write this blog. I want to encourage you, cheer you on and applaud as you continue to run the race set before you.

No matter what your place in this race is, I congratulate you for running your best!    Abundant Blessings,


About debbierivers

I love to share what I can whenever I can. My goal is to live simply and love lavishly. I enjoy inspiring others with my writing. I am married to Steve and am the mother to two beautiful daughters, Hannah and Jenna, and grandmother to Kinsley. My desire is to encourage and to bless others through my life and my words.
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