Saturday, April 08, 2006

A Golden Lesson

For the last four years, my son and I have attended (usually with Daddy along, but Daddy had to work this year) a Pinewood Derby sponsored by the church's Royal Rangers groups. This year my son's winning streak came to an abrupt end. His golden hot rod decorated with Hot Wheel stickers did not place. No matter how much you tell them that they are still a winner, it's still hard to see that look of disappointment on their face when it happens. Our conversation went something like this:

"Mom, I know I'm not going to win anything this year."

"I'm sorry, son. But someone has to lose. Look around you. There are lots of other boys who didn't win either. I bet they feel bad too. But they are still having fun, and you have a great car to take home."

"I know."

"We'll beat 'em next year, son." Hugs.

There were no tears, thankfully. I think that would have broken my heart. And as disappointed as I was, I know that it was as good a time as any for my son to learn the facts of life about good sportsmanship. He and I also got a good look at how it feels to be on the other side of the fence. Hopefully he and I both learned something about compassion and humility.

I was thinking about the position I have found myself in lately--such a humbling, and yes, even at times,humiliating position. It's easy to be smiling and cheerful when you're in the winner's circle. But how much more compassionate and humble do we become when we find ourselves in that spot where we never dreamed we would land? We find ourselves identifying with those in our own predicament--those we possibly criticized before. Now, after finding ourselves on the other side of the fence, we realize how hard a pill it is to swallow. We find ourselves wishing we had been a bit more modest about our earlier successes...a little less prideful. We realize how little we really have even given to help the cause of those less fortunate around us. We become more grateful when someone pauses to help us as we struggle back to the top.

Yes, every boy and girl that attended today was a winner just for showing up and trying. The real test of each one's car was not necessarily how fast it ran against the competition. There have been years when certain cars did not even make it all the way down the track. The real test is crossing the finish line. We must run this race to finish. If our neighbor falters, we must encourage him to go on. If our neighbor stalls, we must do what we can to help him get back on the right track and move ahead. We're in this thing together. Yes, it is important that we run our race to the best of our ability--to give our absolute best in service to the Lord. Yes, we may have bumpy roads, breakdowns, and false starts where we have to start completely over at the beginning, but the important goal is to cross that finish line and hear our Lord and Master say, "Well done." How blessed we are that to be in the family of God is to be victorious--in this life and the life to come.


Praying for your Prodigal said...

Another great lesson in life. You are truly a gifted writer...and better amazing mom...who is willing to pay attention to the important lessons in life! Your little guy has learned a valuable lesson.

I am in Orlando--enjoying a great weekend with my son. He is experiencing the emotional rollercoaster of a life lesson--growing up! I am experiencing so many emotions--watching him try to be a independent man in a new city, starting a new job, setting up in a new home on his own. No matter how much I want to make it safe and familar--it is his time to make it HIS home. Somehow, I want to leave my imprints, my hugs, my assurances and it is abundantly clear--this is HIS time. Life lessons are sometimes painful but always an opportunity. You taught you son well today as he crossed the finish line! What a great reminder to me as I sit in this hotel room feeling a little nauseated at the thought of leaving Curt here is HIS time to cross HIS finish line...HIS way. Time for Mom to give up the steering wheel!


C. H. Green said...

Keep putting Him in the hands of the Lord. You know that standing in the hedge is the best thing you can do. I'm with you. God is with you, and him.

Morning Glory said...

This is a good reminder. Thank you for words to store up and think about.

Magnolia said...

I love your blog. I went back and read the older posts too. Loved 'Sunday in the South'--you write description well.

And thank you for sharing the fudge recipe on your blog. I can't wait to try it out.