Walking the Race

"Walking the Race" by Lara Patangan (CatholicMom.com)

Copyright 2018 Lara Patangan. All rights reserved.

I was walking back to school on a kindergarten field trip when I realized that my classmates were ahead of me. Panicked, I whirled my head around so fast that strands of dandelion-colored hair lashed my face. My fears were confirmed. I was the last of my peers; only the chaperones were lulling behind. I darted forward to catch up but somehow tumbled over myself, landing face first on the sidewalk.

I remember the sting on my hands and knees from the fall. The scabs on my face lasted for weeks before they faded into a bad memory.  More than anything, I remember that feeling of being left behind.

In some ways, I still feel like that five-year-old girl, always trailing the pack, never on pace. Too often I feel like my life is not my own. I am pulled here and there by needs greater than my own ambitions. And I get frustrated. I wonder when it will be my turn. I think tomorrow will be different and the anomalies of today will pass and the plans I make can prosper.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord.  “Plans to prosper you not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV).

I am glad God knows His plans for me but sometimes I think maybe He should clue me in to them. After all, I am having a lot of interruptions in my plans and so maybe I am on the wrong plan. Maybe I could finally get ahead if I knew where He was leading. I would follow, God. I promise I would. It would be easier, though, if You could give me some direction, some yellow brick road so I can get out of this traffic jam to nowhere.

But then I recall that terrible fall in kindergarten when I was desperate to keep up and humiliated to have fallen so far behind. I am reminded that my urgency to run forward is what landed me on my face. I couldn’t see then that while I wasn’t where I thought I should be I was still on the right path. I was safe and before I noticed where I wasn’t, I was happy with where I was. In my own world, experiencing it at my own pace, I was at peace with the present. I wasn’t looking forward or back. I was free.

I remember something else about that day. That when I fell, the people that moments before seemed so far ahead and so far behind, huddled around offering me comfort. They reminded me that I was never as alone as it seemed.

So although my life feels circuitous like a maze and obstacles slow my intended pace I trust that God has me on the right path.

Remembering that, I don’t feel a need to run.

Copyright 2018 Lara Patangan


About Author

Lara Patangan is a freelance writer and mother of two boys. She believes the merits of mercy are among our greatest gifts as Christians. Her first book about works of mercy will be published in the spring by Our Sunday Visitor. Please visit MercyMatters.net to join this community that believes in the power of mercy to change the world.

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