Dora’s Baton

We each have life’s race to run; in relay with all our others;
How will we finish? How will we know?
If our race was run well, that others might grow?
That others might grow into grace, joy and confidence…
Will my life, your life, make the transfer clear?
Will it at all, as we live each day, a difference make?
Will the ideals we hold close, of faith, hope, joy, and love…
Will these things pass well? Relay secure?
Will these connections be made…
Into their hands? Upon their feet? Into their hearts?
Will their lives pick up our pace?
Will their lives improve? Be challenged?
Those lives with whom we run life’s race?

To be sure of one thing, of this I am certain,
A runner runs best when she runs to her calling.
So give this race your all, my all too; and may we reflect often on this;
This relay race of life needs team mates devoted one to the other.
And while we run, while you run and I run too,
One more thing we might think or consider;
The baton, our baton, our life really,
Is lived best when lived and raced for the sake of the others.

For each race, each relay, each exchange we make,
Is a part of the whole scheme, whatever the take.
Yet more oft than not, we forget to enjoy,
Until we are done!
Yes, more oft than not, we forget to enjoy
Our race, your race, my race too,
Until it is done, and we are over the line,
That race, lost or won, forever in time!

And it seems true too, with the passing and crossing over of a life,
Only the cheering, weeping and rejoicing heard behind the line,
Reminds us again, so that we and all others might finally know,
How well our race, your race, my race was run;
Each wild and precious race, how was it run?

How will we know then, you wonder? This, today, is what I presently think:
That when we hand the baton of life over,
When it is gladly received by another runner,
Then we will know a life, a race, a baton, had meaning;
The baton received well, is recieved for the running!
Then we will know, a race first run with misgivings or fear,
Has transformed its runner with its passing, though how, it is unclear;
Then we will know, and perhaps understand, perceive,
Our baton held so dearly, must pass on to be received.
The baton must pass, and so do we; before an exchange of runners may proceed.

So now a request I make, and I make without further adieu,
The time to receive a baton is at hand, it’s true;
Receive the baton willing; and run with it fast;
Passed on from Dora, then on to you and to me;
Passed on for our learning; it’s time we receive.
Receive her baton, of faith, of joy and love for the others;
Receive her baton, take flight, not cover!
Receive it for life and all of those living!
Receive it from Dora, and all that it’s giving:
Wings for soaring, feet for running, breath for breathing,
Our baton, her baton, yours and mine too;
Carry it forward, for the next runner,
Carry it forward in strength, please do!

Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls! ~Hebrews 12:1-3 The Message (MSG)

In Memory of Dora C: For all those who knew and loved you…may they be encouraged to run their course, strong and true, following your good life as a pattern for their own. May they rejoice in the gift of knowing you and receive your baton with happiness to run their race…towards the Beloved One.

That by the grace of God you were healthy enough to toe the line is worth celebrating. Focus on that and let the minutes, seconds and milliseconds of disappointment go.
A.C. Shilton

Running Quote

Racing or Running?

What is your intention? Your intention for the day makes all the difference to how you will rate the finish line at day’s end. Will you race through your day? Or will you run through it? By definition, a race is a competition or contest in which there will be a winner with many runners’ up. Likewise, a run indicates quick forward momentum, when for a short moment, both feet are off the ground.

So what is your intention for the day? Will you treat it like a race and gut out your day, heaving with great sighs of breathing and straining with an intensity and focus that tramples every obstacle in your path? Or will you instead lace up for your day with careful pacing of your energies and metered awareness of the passing moments so as to accomplish those chores and duties you encounter through the day.

Racing through your days can wear you down and leave you feeling defeated if you don’t finish the day ahead of your to-do list. However, if we can run through our days with attention to our pacing and purpose, then we may accomplish what is most needful for today and be satisfied with no more or no less.


Don’t Look Back

I finished my first half marathon (13.1 mile) race with a smile on my face on March 23, 2014. I can still recall nearly every mile of that event and it was all so magical! That’s not to say that it was an easy run. I was 52 years old and this was my first long distance race. This was a fitness challenge that tested my resolve to finish with every mile that I completed, especially as I neared the last three miles. I had never run 13 miles before race day. The longest run I had completed in my training was 11 miles, and I wasn’t confident that I would be able to run that distance without stopping to walk. The course was indeed challenging; a rolling out and back with few straightaways. I did not bring music to distract myself, only my thoughts…and the two thoughts that kept me plodding forward that day were: don’t look back; cross the finish line. In the year since I’ve completed that race, I continue to use those two thoughts as my ‘living’ mantras, especially when I face the ups and downs of everyday life. I have found the ‘don’t look back’ mantra especially helpful when I am enduring a stressful, over the top work day. Backward glances on difficult or stressful moments, might look or seem like productive conduct to the untrained, but I’ve realized that such behavior uses precious energies (physical and mental) and causes a loss of momentum. The only time I allow myself to go backwards is when I’m aware that I may have breached a relationship with an unkindness. Then I will revisit that event, that place in time and make it right with the one I have wronged.
A backward glance is not usually an action of confidence but rather a movement that symbolizes uncertainty, fear, and anxiety. I cannot change or improve upon the ground that I have already covered…it has passed. I am most productive, most positive, most available to others when I keep my eyes on the intentions I have set my sights on for today. There will be time to review what I have done in the accumulated milestones of today; that time is after I cross the finish line with the setting of the sun. Then I can review, and critique, and plan for the next day’s journey.

It takes more energy to twist yourself around and look back than it does to face forward. Twyla Tharp in The Creative Habit

Philippians 3:13-14  Brothers and sisters, I can’t consider myself a winner yet. This is what I do: I don’t look back, I lengthen my stride, and I run straight toward the goal to win the prize that God’s heavenly call offers in Christ Jesus. (from GOD’S WORD Copyright 1995 by God’s Word to the Nations Bible Society. All rights reserved.)