Saturday, February 26, 2011

This is kind of a long poem, but it is so good. My brother sent it to me a year ago. He ran track and cross country and so he could relate. I love how inspiring and thought provoking this poem is. It's called "The Race" and it's written by D. H. Groberg. Enjoy...

Whenever 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; how 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, or if not that, at least take second place.
Their parents watched from off the side, each cheering for their son,
and each boy hoped to show his folks that he would be the one.

The whistle blew and off they flew, like chariots of fire,
to win, to be the hero there, was each young boy’s desire.
One boy in particular, whose dad was in the crowd,
was running in the lead and thought “My dad will be so proud.”

But as he speeded down the field and crossed a shallow dip,
the little boy who thought he’d win, lost his step and slipped.
Trying hard to catch himself, his arms flew everyplace,
and midst the laughter of the crowd he fell flat on his face.
As he fell, his hope fell too; he couldn’t win it now.
Humiliated, he just 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 that 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 that he had quit before with only one disgrace.
“I’m hopeless as a runner now, I shouldn’t try to race.”
But through the laughing crowd he searched and found his father’s face
with a steady look that said again, “Get up and win that race!”

So he jumped up to try again, ten yards behind the last.
“If I’m to gain those yards,” he thought, “I’ve got to run real fast!”
Exceeding everything he had, he regained eight, then ten...
but trying hard to catch the lead, he slipped and fell again.
Defeat! He lay there silently. A tear dropped from his eye.
“There’s no sense running anymore! Three strikes I’m out! Why try?
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, “you haven’t lost at all,
for all you have to do to win is rise each time you fall.
Get up!” the echo urged him on, “Get up and take your place!
You were not meant for failure here! Get up and win that race!”

So, up he rose to run once more, refusing to forfeit,
and 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 like he could win.

Three times he’d fallen stumbling, three times he rose again.
Too far behind to hope to win, he still ran to the end.
They cheered another boy who crossed the line and won first place,
head high and proud and happy -- no falling, no disgrace.

But, when the fallen youngster crossed the line, in last place,
the crowd gave him a greater cheer for finishing the race.
And even though he came in last with head bowed low, unproud,
you would have thought he’d 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 bleak and difficult to face,
the memory of that little boy helps me in my own 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.
And when depression and despair shout loudly in my face,
another voice within me says, “Get up and win that race!”

Friday, February 4, 2011

Sin and Adversity

There is a monumental difference between sin and adversity.  Sometimes, these two different scenarios may come at the same time, but they are not the same.  In Bruce C. Hafen's Ensign article titled "Beauty for Ashes: The Atonement of Jesus Christ", he discusses a continuum ranging from sin to adversity.  One end, sin, being the highest degree to which we are at fault.  And at the other, adversity, we may bear no responsibility at all.  We are solely responsible for our choices in this life, wrong or right.  When we sin, it is because we chose to.  We disobeyed one of God's commandments and now face consequences for that sin, whether temporal or spiritual.  It is our opportunity and duty to use the Atonement of Jesus Christ and be forgiven for our sin completely.  This includes having a change of heart and forsaking the sin.
When things happen to us because of other people's choices, this is known as adversity.  Adversity is primarily given to us from a loving Heavenly Father.  This may sound odd, but he loves us so much that he wants us to keep getting better and improving.  And we all know that to do so, we must be pushed.  He will NOT push us beyond our limits, he has promised us this in the scriptures.  But we must be tried and tested to prove worthy to live in the kingdom of God.  Adversity may leave a bitter taste in our mouth, just as sin, but it is important that we learn the difference between the two so we don't beat ourselves up.  Give yourself credit.  If you are trying to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ to your best ability, that is ALL you can do.  You will be blessed for your diligence and your faith.