by kurt hardy
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I Corinthians 9:24-27
By Kurt Hardy
“Quit, give up, you’re beaten”, they shouted at me and pled.
“There’s just too much against you” were the words they said.
And as I started to hang my head, in front of failures face,
my downward fall was broken, by the memory of a race.
Then hope refills my weakened will as I recall that special scene.
For just the thought of that short race rejuvenates my being.
A child’s race, young boys, young men. Now I remember it well.
Excitement for sure, but also came fear; it wasn’t hard to tell.
They all lined up so full of hope, each thought to win the race.
To win first or if not for that, at least to take second place.
As fathers watched from the side, each cheering for his son.
And each boy hoping to show his dad, that he would be the one.
The whistle blew and off they went, young hearts and hopes afire.
To win and be a hero there! That was each boy’s desire.
And one boy in particular whose dad was in the crowd,
was running near the lead and thought, “my dad will be so proud”.
But as he ran 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 hand flew out to brace,
amidst the laughter of the crowd, he felt a deep disgrace.
So down he fell and with him hope, he could never win now.
Embarrassed and sad he only wished, he could disappear somehow.
His dad stood up amidst the crowd and showed his anxious face,
which to his boy he clearly said; “ get up and run the race”!
He quickly arose, no damage done, but behind a bit that’s all.
He ran with all his might and mind to make up for his fall.
So anxious to restore himself, to catch up so he might 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, why should I try to race?”
But in the laughing crowd, he found his father’s face,
the steady look that said again, “get up and run the race!”
So he jumped up to try again, ten yards behind the last.
“If I’m going to gain those yards, I’ve got to move real fast.”
Running with all the might he had, he gained eight yards or ten,
but trying so hard to catch the lead, he slipped and fell again.
Defeat! He laid there silently, a tear dropped from his eye.
“There’s no sense running anymore, 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 failure all the way.
“I’ve lost”, he thought, “so what’s the use, I’ll live in my disgrace.”
But then he thought about his dad, who soon he’d have to face.
Get up! A voice I heard within, ”get up and take your place.
You’re not meant for failure here, get up and run 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 arose to run once more and with a new commit,
he resolved to win or even to 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 if to win.
Three times he stumbled and fell, each time he got up again.
Too far behind to win the prize, yet he ran to the very end.
They cheered the winning runner, as he crossed the line first place.
His head held high and proud, he finished with no disgrace.
But when the fallen youngster, crossed the line last place,
the crowd gave him the greater cheer for finishing the race.
And even though he came in last, with head bowed 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.”
Now when things are difficult, and hard for me to face,
The memory of that little boy helps me to run my race.
For life is but a race we run, with ups and downs and all.
And all we have to do to win, is get up each time we fall.
“Quit, give up, you’re beaten!” They still shout in my face.
But another voice inside me says,” get up and run the race.”
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Very nicely written! I recall the statement of the late Escalante -"In life you don't the many times you fall, you count how many times you get up."