Whenever I start to hang my head in front of failure’s face,
my downward fall is broken by the memory of a race.
A children’s race, young boys, young men; how I remember well,
excitement sure, but also fear, it wasn’t hard to tell.
They all lined up so full of hope, each thought to win that race
or tie for first, or if not that, at least take second place.
Their parents watched from off the side, each cheering for their son,
and each boy hoped to show his folks that he would be the one.
The whistle blew and off they flew, like chariots of fire,
to win, to be the hero there, was each young boy’s desire.
One boy in particular, whose dad was in the crowd,
was running in the lead and thought “My dad will be so proud.”
But as he speeded down the field and crossed a shallow dip,
the little boy who thought he’d win, lost his step and slipped.
Trying hard to catch himself, his arms flew everyplace,
and midst the laughter of the crowd he fell flat on his face.
As he fell, his hope fell too; he couldn’t win it now.
Humiliated, he just wished to disappear somehow.
But as he fell his dad stood up and showed his anxious face,
which to the boy so clearly said, “Get up and win that race!”
He quickly rose, no damage done, behind a bit that’s all,
and ran with all his mind and might to make up for his fall.
So anxious to restore himself, to catch up and to win,
his mind went faster than his legs. He slipped and fell again.
He wished that he had quit before with only one disgrace.
“I’m hopeless as a runner now, I shouldn’t try to race.”
But through the laughing crowd he searched and found his father’s face
with a steady look that said again, “Get up and win that race!”
So he jumped up to try again, ten yards behind the last.
“If I’m to gain those yards,” he thought, “I’ve got to run real fast!”
Exceeding everything he had, he regained eight, then ten…
but trying hard to catch the lead, he slipped and fell again.
Defeat! He lay there silently. A tear dropped from his eye.
“There’s no sense running anymore! Three strikes I’m out! Why try?
I’ve lost, so what’s the use?” he thought. “I’ll live with my disgrace.”
But then he thought about his dad, who soon he’d have to face.
“Get up,” an echo sounded low, “you haven’t lost at all,
for all you have to do to win is rise each time you fall.
Get up!” the echo urged him on, “Get up and take your place!
You were not meant for failure here! Get up and win that race!”
So, up he rose to run once more, refusing to forfeit,
and he resolved that win or lose, at least he wouldn’t quit.
So far behind the others now, the most he’d ever been,
still he gave it all he had and ran like he could win.
Three times he’d fallen stumbling, three times he rose again.
Too far behind to hope to win, he still ran to the end.
They cheered another boy who crossed the line and won first place,
head high and proud and happy — no falling, no disgrace.
But, when the fallen youngster crossed the line, in last place,
the crowd gave him a greater cheer for finishing the race.
And even though he came in last with head bowed low, unproud,
you would have thought he’d won the race, to listen to the crowd.
And to his dad he sadly said, “I didn’t do so well.”
“To me, you won,” his father said. “You rose each time you fell.”
And now when things seem dark and bleak and difficult to face,
the memory of that little boy helps me in my own race.
For all of life is like that race, with ups and downs and all.
And all you have to do to win is rise each time you fall.
And when depression and despair shout loudly in my face,
another voice within me says, “Get up and win that race!”
Attributing worth to human beings is accepting on faith and acting as if each person has within himself or herself the possibility for kindness, fairness, joy, and the capacity to create ethical relationships. Given this capacity for goodness each person deserves to be treated with dignity.
I guess now that it’s been repeated, it becomes a quote.
OK, I cheated a bit. This is actually a statement from me. I guess it really doesn’t become a quote unless someone else repeats it.
I believe this to be true, though. When someone is kind to others, there is a beauty to them that clothes and looks cannot touch.
Outward appearance can become very ugly, very quickly when someone opens their mouths and their character oozes hatred and unpleasantness.
I believe the main reason Princess Diana was known as The People’s Princess was because of her charity work. Yes, she was beautiful, wore designer clothes and exuded elegance, but her kindness was where her true beauty shone. She was at her most stylish when she was reaching out to those in need. That stylish way of living was passed down to her children, who continue her work. This was such a beautiful and important part of their mother that to honor her memory meant continuing her work.
There are many in society now who are completely self-absorbed. They have no trouble saying that life is all about them. There are t-shirts touting it, songs reinforcing the idea and it is everywhere in the media. Somewhere, we have forgotten that society is built on caring for each other and working for the greater good. Out of selfish ambition comes abuse, pain, crime, death and the loss of meaning and purpose. There is such an emptiness to living this way and there is little chance of ever being content. You will always want more.
We were created to help each other. “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10 Reaching out to others is part of God’s purpose for us. No one’s purpose in life is for them alone.
“Flemish Giants are one of the oldest & largest breeds of rabbits in existence. Experts believe that this giant rabbit breed might be descended from related breeds such as the Stone Rabbit and the European Patagonian; both of which are now extinct, but were raised for fur and meat purposes. The first recorded reference to this breed was noted as being from the Flanders region in Belgium, during the 16th Century. They were exported from England into the United States in 1893; later becoming a charter breed of the (then newly formed) American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) in 1924.” http://www.flemish-giant.com
I’ve written a lot about my journey. I guess guests to my blog will have read some of the stories I have to tell. Some aspects of my journey testify to the power of cowardice in my life. Others stories speak about desert experiences. Other still refer to that new Jerusalem that we now see as through a glass.
A Mistaken Journey
My job at the time was in Wellington’s CBD. My home at the time wasn’t. Rather, it was in Porirua, which I guess would be considered a suburb of the greater Wellington area. This being the case, I would take the train to and from work.
The train station served as a portal between the worlds of work and home. This particular train station had multiple platforms servicing multiple lines.
It was early in my “taking the train to and from work” experience when I found myself on a train going in a direction that wasn’t the one I had intended on. The stations didn’t look familiar. Was it my relative inexperience? Or was as it because I had not committed to memory the station names and their order?
About 10 minutes in came the realisation that this was the wrong train – or the wrong train line at least. What was I to do? I did the only thing I knew to do. Alighting at the next station, I crossed the platform and waited for the next train back to the station.
From there, I made doubly sure that I was on the right train – the train to Porirua. A mistaken journey that meant I got home late. Late to walk through the unfamiliar and dark streets of a troubled town. I made it home. And the journey made its way into the annals of my memory. And these annals serve as a rich repository of potential blogging topics.