The Race

23 04 2012

“All the world is full of suffering. It is also full of overcoming.” Helen KellerImage

We were down in Indy last weekend visiting our youngest son Justin, his lovely wife Tracie, and the apple of their eye (Grandpa and Grandma’s too) Mae Nicole.  Always great to visit the kids, but the main reason for this trip was a triathlon that Justin and I competed in that Sunday.  We trained hard for this 1st of several tri-events we’ll do this summer and it paid off as each of us bettered our last performance.  I particularly showed improvement in the swim while my baby boy did great in all three events.  Without a doubt there’s something to be said about the age factor.  I was sore from nose to toes for several days after the competition.  Justin Michael on the other hand, well he was a little sore but not enough to miss a flag football game, and then a doubleheader softball game that night before ever going to bed.  Had I attempted to do all that in a single day I wouldn’t be in a slumber that evening, I’d have been in a coma! But that’s great, I’m proud of him as I am all my kids.  The following day I checked on line what my placing in the event had been and was happy to see I finished in front of a good number of racers.  That’s the good news; the other side of the coin is there was a “whole” lot more that placed above the Gray One. With over 700 competitors the race is ran in waves, with the fastest starting 1st and then everyone else ranked by age or past qualifying times going next.  Because of these factors I’m usually close to the end of the pack.  Some of these great competitors will actually swim, bike and run before I ever get out of the water.  Now I don’t know how you view this scenario, but I thing it’s pretty cool.  To think, an old ex-smoker like myself, who couldn’t beat his 8 year old grandson in the foot race, battling in a contest with some of the best tri-athletes in the country, well personally; I find that pretty awesome, not just on my account but for the millions of others out there doing their very best, knowing they won’t win, but still giving it all they have!  There was a time in my life I wouldn’t have given a thought to trying something like this, especially when individuals of high capability are involved also; much more intimidation than I was able to handle.

You see, as a boy I had been classified as a “slow learner.”  Personally, I believe the label that was pinned on me was incorrect, one more suited would be “not taught yet.”   I was raised without a father figure, and my mother and great-aunt who were there for me, and who I loved dearly, held little formal education or knowledge of activities a young lad would involve himself in.  Teachers back then, did the best they could, but there were few special programs to help struggling students and the majority of the time a child was passed on to the next grade whether they deserved to or not.  Individuals like me would be at a disadvantage not because we couldn’t perform and comprehend, but rather due to lack of proper knowledge and understanding on how or what to do.  Now, please, don’t take the idea I’m singing that old refrain “poor, poor pitiful me.”  I’m not into what I refer to as “crutch support.”  In other words, we an all agree that it is a true statement to say each and every one of us has had situations or moments where we have felt inferior to a task or other people around us. I don’t like to criticize, but truth of the matter is some use those experiences as a “crutch” for the reason they won’t try some thing ever again.  Truly, I understand their pain and fear, but I also know they have more ability than they give themselves credit for possessing.  Had I believed the words of a few, shall we say “narrow minded people,” or the studies done by psychologists, on folks such as myself, who’s formative years were below what society brands as the norm, I might have been a high-school dropout working a dead-end job whose only social activity would be watching television and eating junk food.  AGAIN! Please, let me emphasize, I’m not looking down on others or blowing my horn.  I’m making the point that if I, a person who is not really anything special, (from a worldly standpoint) can overcome the odds anyone, everyone, YOU, can also!

One writer says it this way; “Any fact facing us is not as important as our attitude toward it, for that determines our success or failure.  The way you think about a fact may defeat you before you ever do anything about it.  You are overcome by the fact because you think you are.”

When I became a Christian, I was overjoyed with all the promises that the Creator of the universe bestowed on me.  But there was something more to it than what I was receiving, there was a reality that became present of exactly who I was and how special I was to God.  I may not become some great leader, teacher, athlete, or whatever, but my Lord has a purpose for my life that means I am worth something to Him, to others, to me.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11.  And “If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans8:31

It doesn’t matter what others think or what some study may surmise; what matters is how God sees me and you, special, winners! 

I plan on doing at least 4 more triathlons this season and next year, good Lord’s will and the creek don’t rise, an Ironman event.  That’s a 2 ¼ mile swim, 110 mile bike, and 26 mile run.  If the moment comes where I get the opportunity to challenge this next endeavor, make or break, my prize will be the same as always; give God the praise for His grace and mercy in my life and making me, in His eyes, a winner! Philippines 4:13. 🙂







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