Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Running to Finish

The name of this article may make it sound like winning is not the main objective of running a race.  After all, isn't the point of running a race winning it? Only if you are a world class athlete who is a rare specimen of physical ability.  Now, it is possible you are that kind of person and in the field you are in, you excel in ways that leave everyone else in the dust.  You are remarkable and will probably end up on the cover of TIME magazine.  Then there is the rest of us.  If we take an accounting of our abilities, running a race to win may be beyond what we can achieve, so we should just kick up our recliners and leave the winning to the deserving... right?

I don't agree with that statement and the reason is this: winning isn't the main point of the race; finishing is.  Many people who participate in marathons don't expect to come in first.  They are participating to complete the race, to be able to say and know that they achieved something remarkable which the majority of people will never even attempt.  They may not be a world class athlete but they can take pride in being fit and healthy and determined to cross the finish line.

Now that I have exhausted that metaphor, I am going to suggest it is not just races we should be seeking to complete, but dreams too.  And maybe that dream is to complete a marathon.  But other dreams might be to take up photography, or bake wedding cakes, or open a book store, or publish a book, or become an illustrator of children's literature.  The dreamer may not make a million dollars on a product Oprah puts on her favorites list, but they can enjoy the journey of making the dream come to life.  So to those brave souls who are willing to stop dreaming and start doing, to get up and do the hard work, I say, go for it! Don't be afraid of running the race because you won't win, be afraid of not running the race and missing out on finishing!

Most dreams seem like marathons, with miles to go, and leg cramps and side stitches and long stretches of road where there are no other runners and no crowd to cheer you on.  All you have with you is God and your desire to finish.  Push though and never  give up! Write that book, bake that cake, open that shop, or train and then run that marathon, if that is your dream.  Do it in your spare time, sneak it in before you have to get to bed.  Work at it a little here and there.  Believe in yourself! Then when obstacles come, find ways around them! Sell books on eBay, self-publish that novel, make the cakes out of your own kitchen when you can't afford to rent the space.

The finish line is up ahead.  It seems so far away, but it is closer now than it was a mile back and closer still than it would be if you had never started! Run the race, and finish.  I know I'll be proud of you!