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The Race

Monday, February 07, 2011

For those of you who know I'm a runner, this is not what you might be expecting. I didn't do a race this weekend, though one of my favorites was on Saturday, the annual Make-a-Wish run. I'm just not back at the point where I could run a significant portion of it, and I couldn't bring myself to walk a race I've run the last 2 years. I know it's a silly matter of pride, but there you go.

Another reason I didn't do the race though, was because I was recovering Saturday from Friday, a difficult day where I attended the funeral of a good friend of mine who had been killed the week before. Friday was a long, emotional day. Saturday was a definite mental health day for my husband and me.

Because of my husband's religious position as well as being a good friend of the man who died, he was the final speaker at the funeral, and shared the following poem. I'd heard it before, and while it was very appropriate to our friend, I felt it was also very appropriate to my own situation right now and so I decided to post it here so I could have ready access to it. I found this version online, and am crediting it to the most often credited name, though there are a few variations in the ones I found. It's entitled The Race. (Hanky warning!)

The Race

by D. H. Groberg

"Quit! Give up! You're beaten!"
They shout at me, and plead
"There's just too much against you now.
This time you can't succeed."

And as 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
Now, 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, if not that,
At least take second place.

And fathers watched from off the side
Each cheering for his son.
And each boy hoped to show his dad,
that he would be the one.

The whistle blew, and off they went
Young hearts and hopes afire
To win, to be the hero there
Was each young boy's desire.

And one boy in particular,
Whose dad was in the crowd,
Was running near the head and thought:
"My dad will be so proud!"

But as they speeded down the field
Across a shallow dip
The little boy who thought to win,
Lost his step and slipped.

Trying hard to catch himself,
His hands flew out to brace
And 'mid the laughter of the crowd
He fell flat on his face.

So, down he fell, and with him hope
- he couldn't win it now -
Embarrassed, sad, he only 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 the 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, then, he had quit before
With only one disgrace.
"I'm hopeless as a runner now;
I shouldn't try to race.

But, in the laughing crowd he searched
And found his father's face.
That steady look that said again!
"Get up and win the race."

So, up he jumped, to try again
- ten yards behind the last -
"If I'm to gain those yards," he thought
'I've got to move real fast."

Exceeding everything he had
He gained back eight or ten,
But trying so, to catch the lead,
He slipped and fell again!

Defeat! He lay there silently
- a tear dropped from his eye -
"There is no sense in running more;
Three strikes, I'm out, why try?"

The will to rise had disappeared
All hope had fled away
So far behind; so error prone
A loser all the way.

"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,
"Get up, and take your place
You were not meant for failure here,
Get up, and win the race."

With borrowed will, "Get up," it said
"You haven't lost at all.
For winning is no more than this;
To rise each time you fall."

So, up he rose to run once more,
And with a new commit
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 as though to win.

Three times he'd fallen stumbling.
Three times he'd rose again.
Too far behind to hope to win
He still ran to the end.

They cheered the winning runner,
As he crossed the line first place,
Head high, and proud, and happy.
No falling, no disgrace.

But, when the fallen youngster
Crossed the line last place,
The crowd gave him the greater cheer
For finishing the race.

Even though he came in last.
With head bowed head low, unproud,
You would have thought he 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 hard,
And difficult to face.
The memory of that little boy
Helps me to win my 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.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Aw Julie... great big hugs coming over the distance from me to you.

    I miss you. I've always got your back if you need it, or a mental hand up when you are feeling low, just shoot me a text! Hang in there, and keep in touch.
    3629 days ago
    Jules - love that poem... have heard it many times before. Thanks for sharing and my condolences in the loss of a friend.
    3630 days ago
    Jules I too attended a close friends funeral on Friday. My neighbor was nice enough to take me as the snow here is deep and I would have had to walk (because I was NOT going to miss it). Her daughter and mine played tennis together and the daughter and I are close. Kalyn is only 21 and her Mom is gone to soon-a rare cancer! I tried so hard not to cry, not sure why but wanted to be brave for her as I know from time to time she was looking over to me as I sat alone trying to not be mad, sad, angry-you know the emotions well. I did find a poem that made me feel better about the tears rolling down my face.

    There is a sacredness to tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently then 10,000 tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, deep contrition and of unspeakable love.

    We should feel blessed to have the feelings we do with the loss of someone we have cared about- it means we have LIVED!! I'm so sorry for your loss.
    3631 days ago
  • no profile photo CD557571
    Love you Jules!

    3631 days ago
  • no profile photo CD557571
    Love you Jules!

    3631 days ago
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