The Team

22 10 2012

ImageSeems like forever since I’ve posted anything to my blog with all the projects going on here at the Miller Manor plus being without internet for almost a month. I have about a half dozen stories that I’m working on and hope to post in the coming weeks.

Today’s contribution is a short one compared to many I’ve written, but worth talking about.

As some of you know my Lady and I love to participate in sporting events like triathlons and foot races with Cathy being the stronger runner between the two of us.  Our last endeavor was in Fort Wayne where I did a 10K (6.2 miles) and Cath ran a mini marathon, 13.1 miles.  We both approached this race with a bit of trepidation.  My Lady had not trained for this run like she did her 1st mini and was having a hard time finding the motivation she once possessed.  My problem had nothing to do with motivation, if was because if there was a way I could injure one of my feet I did it.  Since May, I have suffered broken toes, burns, abrasions, and blisters; and before I could get one injury totally healed up I’d find way to hurt myself anew. So come the week of the race neither of us felt ready to compete either mentally or physically.  It would have been just as easy to stay home that morning and enjoy a relaxing day off.  But neither of us had any plans to do that, we didn’t pay $50 apiece just for a tee shirt.

Some 10,000 runners had gathered in Fort Wayne for this race and Cathy’s group who were running 13.1 miles took to the road an hour before my heat so I had a lot of standing time to get even more nervous than I already was.  As long as I could run, walk or limp, I figured I could at least finish sometime before night fall; I hoped!

The race started and several thousand runners went into their stride as I did, which was a very aggressive walk.  After a few minutes I started jogging and it wasn’t long until the “evil voice ”inside me began to yell out, “You can’t do this, turn around now while you’re close to the starting point and head back so you don’t embarrass yourself!”  The voice almost won out, but then I heard something; drum music.  Several blocks up from me there was an African Drum band, singing, playing dancing and smiling.  It was like every runner was magically drawn down the street just a little faster toward this beautiful music.  When we reached it, there were all these talented performers plus many more gathered just to encourage everyone on.  Foot injury or not, there was new energy pulsing through my body and I broke into a run for several blocks. About the time I decided to slow up to a walk again, there were street performers juggling and riding unicycles, there were also people dressed in funny costumes and working every type of noise maker known to man.  There was one person holding a sign that said, “You can do it!”  You bet I can, lets rock! Back into a run and soon there was the 1st of several water and Gatorade stations that were set every mile or so, plus one beer shot table at the last mile (that was a very popular stop!) and still more and more people out encouraging each athlete; “Keep it up, you’re doing awesome!” All along the 6 mile route were entertainers, aids and encouragers, and not only these, there were folks that had come out of their homes and stores to cheer and applaud every runner that passed by.  Signs and balloons lined the entire route; some were there for specific runners, but many just to lend their support to each and every individual.  The longer I went the more it occurred to me, this just wasn’t a race it was a festival, a jubilee to celebrate the efforts of all out there on the course.  The more they encouraged the harder I ran.  As I made my way to the arena where the finish line was I could see many people lined along the road, cheering and yelling for any and all, plus calling you by name since it was on the front of your shirt along with your number; “Keep going John, you’re almost there, you’re doing great!”  Entering the arena there was a roar from above, people in the stands waiting to see a friend or loved one cross the finish line, but cheering for everyone. There would be even more excitement when runners (the Gray One included) would break into sprints that last 100 yards or so. When I crossed the line by 1st thought, I going to need help getting out of here!  The next thought; man, we gotta do this again!  It had the same positive effect on Cathy who shaved 21 minutes from her previous race.

That Saturday was awesome and even though I did better than I thought I would, there was no record setting pace set that day.  And no, my injury didn’t go away; matter of fact I paid a pretty good price on the pain scale for the next week.  The injury was still there, but it was no longer on the forefront of my mind. My thoughts were on all the gaiety and encouragement abounding around me.  Without the positive environment created by many wonderful folks, I’m sure I would have been done in the 1st mile.

I’m gonna get right to my point now, no one ever accomplishes greatness alone.  Oh, I know there are ones who will say, “You’re wrong Miller, I’m a loner and anything I do, I do alone without any help.”  Well, maybe you’ve convinced yourself of that, but trust me if you break it down, you’re going to find people who have added assistance in some way be it big or small.  And the ones who understand the need of others will usually accomplish even greater victories than they ever imagined.  Haven’t you heard people who win some award, and what are the first words out of their mouths?  “I like to thank all the people who were there for me and made this possible.”  True, there is that essential motivation inside us that needs to drive us toward a goal, but when we add others to assist, the endeavor before you becomes easier or more reachable if you please.  Perhaps you’re not called to do great things; perhaps your calling is to be a part of the team or that extra help to someone else–just as important.  In my life I’ve found I make a better teacher than I ever did a student, a better coach than a player, and a better extra hand than trying to be the whole body.  (Okay, I lied about this one being a shorter one, I yam what I yam!!)
That’s one of the aspects of the Christian life that was a such draw to me, the idea that we are not alone out there, we are a part of something bigger and each person in Christ, or the body as Paul puts it, has a job to do, be it big or small, that is meant to be a help to the whole (1Corinthians 12).  God did not make us to be lone rangers out there on our own doing the best we can as a solo act.  We were made to be part of a family, building and encouraging others to push on.  It won’t take you long, but check out these verses; 1Peter 4:5-8, Hebrews 10: 24-25, Proverbs 27:17, Ecclesiastics 4:9-10.

God has made us to be a family, to be a team and He’s the Head, the Coach.  In those times when you do find yourself alone, never forget God is there to cheer you, and at times, carry you to the finish line though the sacrifice and love of Jesus.  Never forget in Christ, you are a winner!  Let’s cheer each other to the finish line!  


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