Last spring my kids did track for the first time and I loved watching. That is I loved watching everything but the hurdles. They held a strange repulsive fascination for me. I wanted to watch those kids (not mine, mind you) try to glide over the barriers but at the same time I was terrified they'd fall. Fall hard. Fall hard and quit.
In my life I run at emotion, spiritual, and sometimes physical hurdles, because I simply HAVE to, they are in my path, blocking my way. But these kids were choosing to leap. Choosing to run at a blockade and challenge it. Why not choose the 100 meter? Seriously, run as fast as you can for about 30 seconds and have done with it!
Well, our first track meet of this year was last Tuesday. It started with the hurdles. I cringed and tried to look away, tried to ignore the sound of the starting gun, but I couldn't. I watched. What I saw amazed me.
It was 11-12 year old boys that sprinted forward at the shot. The majority of them cleared with ease, a couple of them barely made it. Next hurdle, one boy tripped, fell. He got up and tried again. Fell again. And again. Everyone had finished now but him. All eyes watched him fall over every. single. hurdle. The amazing thing was that he was laughing. Laughing. He put his arms up in the air when he got up from the ground. He delighted in the getting up and trying again. He finished last with a first place smile and the crowd went wild.
Last night Dave and I were talking over issues and I said, "I've got to get on the other side of this hurdle." My own words triggered a mental picture of that boy trying... failing. But wait a minute, I thought, was it failure? He finished the race. He chose to leap over something difficult and demanding and he ended up on the other side of the hurdle. Okay, maybe not perfectly, or gracefully, or in first place, but he did finish, and with joy.
So I attack my hurdles today with joy.
Not only because I have to, but because I really want to get over them.
I know that it is quite possible that I'll fall.
But by the grace of God, I will get up.
I know that it is entirely possible that I'll end up in last place.
But by the grace of God, I will finish.
With my hands raised in the air.
On the other side of the hurdle....