I promised a friend of mine I would be outside my condo cheering her on as she ran the biggest race in my hometown – The Gate River Run. I felt awkward standing on the sidelines with my coffee in one hand and my iPhone in the other. Why? Because I felt as if I should be running the race too. In other words, I felt like a “Loser!”
There they were — young, old, skinny, not-so-skinny, all colors of race, different genders, dressed in cool running clothes and some dressed in comical clothing. It was a “hoot” to watch them run — or walk — or push their strollers — or push themselves in wheelchairs. I marveled at the flood of people who were in this race together. They all had a common goal – Finish the Race. Some had other goals to be at the finish line first and some were just happy to make it without quitting.
As wave after wave of runners came around the corner of my condo building, I snapped picture after picture and kept my eye out for my friend. As they came towards the group I was standing with, we clapped and encouraged them to “keep going,” “you got this,” “good job,” “cute shoes,” “love your costume,” and “good morning.”
As we yelled and clapped, they sent us “thumps up,” “thank you,” or “good morning to you!” They were sweating, laughing, smiling and some were gasping for breath.
Some were totally focused on their run. Others were totally focused on chatting with their fellow runners and posing for us as we snapped pictures and took videos.
It was a great event! My friend and her family members saw me taking pictures and slid through the running crowd to grab a hug and a hello. They were pushing the newest member of their family in a stroller and the family glowed from sweat and love as they built a memory for their family album.
As they left to finish the race, I waved good-bye and retreated to my condo in the sky. It was still early. My fellow condo dwellers were waking up and the aroma of bacon cooking drifted into my condo. All was right with the world when you smell bacon as you depart your elevator! Can it get any better than that???
I poured a fresh cup of coffee and sat outside on the balcony. The runners were gone and the streets below were now in the process of turning back into lanes for cars instead of runners.
It was going to be a good day. I felt it. There was something so right with the world and I didn’t want it to end. And then…that tingling sensation showed up. That feeling I get when my spirit tells me there is a lesson to be learned in what just happened. “Here I go,” I thought. And the questions ran in my mind just like the runners who ran the race on this Saturday morning.
- Why can red, yellow, black, white, young, old, male, female, gay, straight or whatever else names that divide us get along on a Saturday morning race and yet we can’t seem to find that same LOVE and excitement for each other in our day to day lives?
- Why could we thumbs up and cheer on total strangers and wish them all the best — yet — we don’t take the time to do that at home or at work for the most precious among us?
- Why do we spend countless hours and time preparing for a Saturday morning finish line and do not put any effort into the final finish line of our life?
“Stop thinking so much, Billie! Dang it — just take in that good feeling you had with the smiles and waves of unknown strangers on the street below your condo and then the smell of bacon in the air. Why do you think so much and ruin a good thing?”
I smiled at the thought of me fighting with me. And I thought of how many others fight their own fights every day too.
I didn’t want to take away the feeling of satisfaction from being a part of the River Run – even if I was only standing on the sidelines cheering them on. But I also know me and when a Lesson is being sent by the One who made our legs to run and our thumbs to “thumbs up” — we best pay attention ’cause it’s going to make us all better human beings. And boy do I want to be a better human being.
I realized quickly that Lessons Learned on the street below my condo this past Saturday morning were pretty powerful and if applied by all of us could change the world:
- We CAN do life together. The One who made us wants us to do life together. The other one who wishes to divide us is at work behind the scenes of what we see. He hates togetherness and he’s doing a great job of keeping us apart. Our focus needs to be on the ONE — not the other one’s meanness and hateful ways.
- We CAN forget the things that separate us and focus instead on the finish line – eternity. There IS a finish line for all of us and it needs as much attention in your life as the one you race on the streets of your hometown. It’s really, truly the one and only finish line that matters.
- We CAN ignore our race, gender, age or sexual preference and run together for the good of humanity. In fact, we must ignore all those tags we have placed on ourselves and each other because beneath all that skin, our skeletons are the same!
- We CAN encourage others who are running a different race than us. Sometimes being the encourager instead of the runner is just as important!
- We CAN get back up if we fall. If you can’t finish the race this time, there is always another day and another starting line! We can’t lie in the streets and wish that we could have finished. Wishing doesn’t make things happen. Getting back up and starting again is how you finish life well.
- We CAN have fun in this race of life. We shouldn’t make everything political or everything a problem or an issue. Just enjoy life (and the smell of bacon too!) We must get back to enjoying life again. Turn off your TV, social media platforms or whatever else is keeping you down. It’s your choice to be happy — so go do it. We need more happy people in this world.
It’s Monday. Another week begins. Another starting line. And to top it off — we get an extra hour of sunlight to do extra cool and fun things! How awesome is that? What a blessing of a week we have here before us. It’s up to each of us how we will run the race. My prayer is that you’ll encourage others to keep on keeping on and you’ll run the race set before you with a smile on your face and love in your heart. Let’s go out and make this world a little better for humanity this week. I believe in you. I believe you can ignore the calls for division too. We are better than that. Are you ready? Ok — Ready, Set, Go!
Enjoy a few of the pictures I took and I hope you can capture the feelings of LOVE that permeated from the crowd. The smell of bacon might just make its way through this blog if you breathe deep enough!
And my friends, don’t let the media or political commentators tell you we are divided. Saturday morning told me they are indeed “Fake News” and if we are left to our own news of the day — we would say “We CAN all get along and have fun doing it. Just get out of the way and let us run the race set before us. Oh Yes We Can do this thing called Life with a lot of thumbs up pushing us to the finish line.”
Love, Peace, Out from your eternal optimist and fellow runner of life, Billie
Acts 20:24 However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me–the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.