My Slowest and Best 5k Ever
I did a 5k a few days ago. A local elementary school was doing the race as a fundraiser. Carrie and I have two God-children who were both running in the race and asked Uncle Dale and Aunt Carrie to do it with them.
Hundreds of people crowded together at the starting line, nearly all of them wearing the blue t-shirts given to each participant. Emma (7) and Aieden (6) were ready to run.
Carrie and Heather (the kids’ mom) planned to run/walk together. Heather then mentioned that, in last year’s race, Aieden had started strong, but then got tired and, by that time had distanced himself so much from his family that he got a bit scared. When I heard that, I told Heather I would offer to run with him.
Moments before the race began, I went up to Aieden and said, “Hey, bud- I’ll run with you, if you want, maybe you can help me, because I have never run at this school before.”
Aiden replied, “Nah, that’s ok.”
Just then, the lady behind the bullhorn said, “On your mark, get set, go!” Approximately 300 blue-shirted people all began running at the same time. That’s 600 arms swinging and 600 legs flailing.
Aieden obviously thought this thing was a 100 yard dash. He broke away from the crowd running full speed. Emma wasn’t far behind him. I began running at a more manageable pace.
Partway through the race I caught up to Emma. She was walking. I stopped running and walked beside her, making sure she was good. Then I said, “When we get to the sign, we’re gonna start running again, ok?” She agreed, and we did.
The race coordinators had drawn directional arrows and encouraging phrases on the pavement with chalk, so I said to Emma, “Ok, every time we see an arrow, we have to stomp on it and say, ‘Boom!’ ” And we did.
Several boooms later we saw Aieden. He was still running, but slowing down. Eventually we caught up to him. He was definitely getting tired. I told Emma, “Let’s slow down and walk with Aieden for a minute.”
I told Aieden how great he was doing. I could tell he didn’t have much gas left in his tank. So I told him about stomping on the arrows, so we started running again and boomed a few times.
Then he wanted to walk again. So we all walked for a minute. Then I said, “You see those cones? We’re gonna start running again when we get there, ok?” We got to the cones and we all started running.
We slowed down again right before we got to where the path went into the woods. When we got into the woods the kids started telling me about how they use this path to learn about nature in school. We turned beyond the art and music exhibit and I realized we were almost at the finish line!
I said, “Come on, we got this! We’re almost done!” With that, we all ran out of the woods and crossed the finish line together!
It was not my fastest 5k, but it was my best.
I could have gotten a better time if I had not slowed down for the kids, but I had a better time by racing with the kids.
Life is like a race. It’s not a sprint, but I sure act like it is, sometimes, by the pace I set. There are times when I get tired, thirsty, and achy. Sometimes I even get discouraged. But Jesus stays with me. He encourages me and tells me stuff to keep me going.
He slows down for me.
He slows down because He loves me. I’m like a kid, but it’s ok. He likes kids.
Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” And he laid his hands on them and went away.”
Matthew 19:13-15 ESV
Jesus loves kids. He always has. And you are one that He loves a lot.
Maybe you’re getting tired in your race. Maybe you set an impossible pace and it’s catching up to you. Maybe you want to quit.
Jesus is there. He is slowing down just to be with you. He will talk to you and encourage you, and maybe even give you some “signs” and “booms” to encourage you to keep going.
Don’t give up. Keep going. The finish line is closer than you think.