I have seen a lot of running pictures over the years, but this one is near the top of the list as one of my favorites. It speaks volumes, yet there is a lot it doesn’t tell. It was taken on Thursday, April 17 of Elkin’s Jacob Parker and Brandon Welborn purposely tying in the 800 meter race. The meet was a quad track meet with Elkin, East Wilkes, Ashe County and Forbush. Jacob and Brandon did the same in the 1600 meter race earlier in the meet. Etched on their faces are the joy of competing and the satisfaction of winning. Their tying reveals the respect they have for each other, the bond they possess as teammates and the unity of their spirits to be champions.
What the picture doesn’t reveal is all the hard work that went into making the “moment” happened. The picture doesn’t tell how the two run in practice like Siamese twins, often stride for stride as if connected at the hip, pushing each other to be better. The picture doesn’t reveal the year around running they do in all kinds of weather. As their coach I am one of the few people who knows the conditions they endure to achieve what they have. I have watched them run in the heat of the summer, the cold of the winter, the rain that pelts off their heads, chilling winds that knock them back one step for every two they take, and on days when they don’t feel like practicing they do anyway. I have seen them finish workouts fatigued, exhausted and just plain dog-tired. But the next day they are back to do it again with a smile on their faces. Their championship character and work ethic has garnered them both all-conference, all-region and all-state honors. They have lead their team to conference championships. And they keep striving to achieve more. The picture doesn’t reveal their unselfishness that encourages the other to win if the other cannot. The picture reveals them tying/winning as runners, but the picture doesn’t reveal their winning characters that makes them winners in the race of life.
Just as a picture may reveal some information, it always conceals much more. How true that is in life as we form a picture of others. Those we come in contact with daily may present to us a “picture” that all is well, but behind their forced smile and pleasantries there may be a hurting soul. Chances are everyone that crosses our paths behind the “picture” they want us to see is a person that needs our encouragement, our prayers, our patience and our caring. When we encounter someone we never really know what is going on in their lives and we need to be cognizant of that fact. We need to be a refreshing breeze and healing balm in the lives of those the Lord brings our way.
Each day we need to pray for sensitive hearts that help us look beyond just the surface “picture” we see that allows us to see the limp in the soul, the hurt in the eyes, the pain in the voice, and the brokenness in the spirit. We need to be enablers who apply Christ’s healing ointment into some of the wounds that have been inflicted in their lives. The time will come when we, too, will find ourselves needing to be on the receiving end of such spiritual medicine.
Let us not be so wrapped up in ourselves that we don’t have time to encourage a follow-weary traveler on the road of life. May we, like unselfish teammates, respect one another, as we are all “teammates” in the human race and as members of the human race we possess a bond in the experiencing of struggles and tussles. Troubles divided are easier to carry and joy shared is multiplied.
As our Heavenly Coach encourages us to love and care for one another, how much better it is to strive toward the finishline of life together, cheering one another on. Now that is a “picture” our Heavenly Father would love to see.