Last year, while attempting to complete the 35-mile Georgia Jewel, I found myself out of sorts. The heat had taken it's toll on me. The world was spinning and blurry. I felt lost in a desert.
I sat on a rock while my friend Nicole ran ahead to get me water. While sitting there, at least a dozen runners stopped in the middle of their races to check on me.
Are you OK?
Do you want some of my water?
Do you need some of my food?
Do you need me to send someone to help you?
Every single person who ran by - stopped - before they ran on.
In many ways life is a race like that. We are all running toward some picture we've painted in our minds of a finish line. The question is, does that finish line motivate us to run as fast as we can to get there, or does it serve as a reminder to make sure others get there with us.
I always think of Christ. The race he was running. And how he always chose to run through the towns where people were hurting the most. He didn't run with the pacers shouting we can win this thing. He was stopping and asking - are you OK? Do you need some of my water?
The thing Christ had going for him (other than being the only son of God) - was he could look eye to eye with the suffering. He could feel it. It reminds me of the runners who passed by me. They could see and feel my suffering. Most of them had run in my uneasy and stumbling running shoes before. And they hadn't forgotten it.
That's the problem with running ahead in life. We lose sight of those left behind. We lose the capacity to see them and look into their eyes and feel their suffering. We run into this illusion that says all the world is running strong.
The pursuit of our own finish line can render us detached and disconnected from those just wanting someone to pause - just one simple minute - and give them a chance to catch up.
We will all run out the door today. Run into the world of our own race. The question is, will it be with a mindset of run ahead - win at all costs, or will it be with wonder?
I wonder who needs me to help them catch up today?