I read once that courage only takes 20 seconds – it only takes 20 seconds to do the thing I fear. I used to hate Fast Sunday because anyone could get up and say anything and I never knew what embarrassing thing I might hear. But I’ve changed my mind to loving Fast Sunday because I love knowing that people feel the spirit so strongly that they act, and when I listen for the good in what they say their words inspire me.
I love the poem of ‘The Race’:
A boy is lined up to run a race and his father is watching in the crowd. The race starts and the boy jumps the first hurdle and thinks I’m in first place! then he trips and falls. His dad stands up and when the boy looks at him the dad’s face seems to say, “Get up and win that race.” The boy get’s up and thinks I can catch up to the lead if I run really fast so he starts running but his mind runs faster than his legs and he trips and falls again.
Amid the laughing crowd he looks for his dad whose look seems to say, “Get up and win that race.” He gets up and starts running but then trips and falls flat on his face. He feels defeated and a tear drops from his eye. He thinks it’s over-why try-I can’t win. But something inside him seems to say, “Get up! You haven’t lost when you rise each time you fall.” The voice inside him urges him on and says, “Get up and take your place! You weren’t meant for failure, get up and win that race!”
He gets up and the other runners are way ahead, but when he crosses the finish line the crowd cheers louder for him than for the winner. His shoulders hang low as he approaches his dad and says, “I lost.” The Dad says, “To me you won because you rose each time you fell.” Then the poem relates the race to life.
I love how the last paragraph of the poem compares the race to life and how it says that when things are dark or hard to think of the boy and how life is like the race. (There are ups and downs in life but the important thing is to get up each time you fall and continue, and when facing depression and despair another voice within says, “Get up and win that race!”)
To me, I’m the boy and the Lord is my dad who cheers me on in difficult times and encourages me. He says, “Get up” each time I’m hit with a trial, and He hopes I won’t be defeated but will keep going. (The Lord wants me to succeed and it doesn’t matter if I come in first place or last, but that I finish.)
I live my life hoping that if I endure to the end of my life with faith in Christ, the Lord will know the goodness in my heart – that I tried my best – and He will grant me eternal life. I’m not perfect. Thank goodness for the Atonement that lets me repent! And thank goodness for the hope of eternal life, that I can one day live with my Father in Heaven.