There were tears.
Some from being scared,
Others from being embarrassed,
Perhaps a couple from being disappointed,
And maybe a few tears from the actual pain.
But otherwise, the little boy who had just wiped out on his bike during a triathlon was OK. He was understandably shaken and covered in some road rash as the by-standers gathered around him to make sure he was OK.
And he was….
…until he heard their encouragement to get back on his bike and finish the race.
At that point the tears turned into sobs.
“But you’ll regret that you didn’t finish,” someone said.
“Waaaaah!” cried the little boy.
“You can do it!” another remarked.
“Waaah Waahhh!” he cried again.
“Come on! Get back up and try again!” encouraged another.
“Waaah Waahhh! Waaaahhhhh!”
I’m not sure if the little boy actually climbed back on the bike and finished the race. Neither is my friend who recounted the story to me on a recent road trip.
And even though I wasn’t there, in my mind, I can see the people gathered around pulling him to his feet. I can see him sobbing as he wipes the gravel from his shins, and takes a deep breath as he slings a skinny knee over the seat. The sobs turn into sniffles, and as his cadence increases, so does his confidence. Before too long, the wind has dried the tears and his frown is replaced with a snaggle-toothed grin of finishing a race that he almost didn’t.
And, as I see him in my mind’s eye, I see myself.
I’ve cried a lot this year.
2012 will do that to you.
Sometimes I’ve cried because I was scared,
Other times it has been from being embarrassed.
I’ve cried a couple of times because I was disappointed.
And I’ve certainly cried a few times from the pain.
And when the tears come, I’m grateful for the by-standers in my life who huddle around me to make sure I’m OK. I’m grateful for those sweet friends – and sometimes even strangers – who know just what to say to encourage me to go on even if for a moment I want to lay on the pavement and sob.
Look around your world today. Is there someone near you that is struggling? Speak a word of encouragement to them. You never know. Your re-assuring words might be just what they need to dust themselves off and finish their race.
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
(1 Thessalonians 5:11)