I love to run. I love to run at 5:30 a.m. in the morning. I love to run after my kids at a beach. I love to run along the Pacific Ocean on a perfect afternoon or on a slippery, rough, and “rooty” West Coast wilderness trail where there could be a bear just around the next turn. I love inspiring people—to run, to move, to be active. I often am frustrated by my 6-year-old son who has more energy than he knows what to do with, but I know exactly whose genes are flowing through that beautiful body. We love to run together.
I also love to run with my daughter, or, for the purposes of this blog, I should say “my teacher.” A few weeks ago we ran our first timed 5 km race together. I ran a personal best time and so I thought I would take a break for a few minutes, get some water, and grab the camera to see her come along the finishing route. Nope! She was a mere 58 seconds behind me and was burning up the pavement. She was incredible!
Over the next few days we talked about praise—the praise we hear for a job well done, the prizes we get when we do well at things like running, waterpolo, soccer, piano, or singing (her life right now), the pride we feel when we do well. We also talked about how it is difficult to not be boastful or prideful.
As always, as my daughter processed those conversations, she also made them come alive. Three days after this incredible run, she had a shorter cross country run at her school for all the Grade 3 students in the city. When I came in to say goodnight to her the night before the race, she told me she had just been praying (proud parent moment!). She told me she had asked God to be with her because she was nervous. She was nervous about doing well—she said she wanted to do well. But she was also nervous because if she did well, she did not how some others would feel.
I reminded her that God is always with her. I explained to her that God gave her the gift of health, strength, and access to good drinking water and healthy food, to make her a great runner. Other people use their skills of music, or compassion, or cooking, or preaching, or being present with people who are sick, or … and the list goes on forever. It is what we do with that gift and, almost more importantly, how we respond to that gift that is honouring to God. We respond because we live in grace. And we live like we want people to see that grace in every move we make.
She went to sleep. The next day at the start line, I reminded her of God’s presence and that we do everything for the glory of God. She did so well in her race. As she came over the finish line, she caught up to the second place finisher, who she knows just a little bit, and told her, “Good job.” Thanks, daughter for teaching me again. That’s how it’s done, folks. Do well, share well, be well.
Responding to Grace. Responding with Grace. Responding because of Grace.
And, dang, those kids … who keep teaching us what we need to be reminded of again and again.