Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Race - September 16, 2013

Dad, I want to thank you for the poem. This week has definitely been the most difficult I have had. It has also been the most rewarding. But this work is really hard and I wish I could talk to you. I don't want you to think that I hate it or want to come home. I would never want to be any other place. But at times tears fall from my eyes because for the first time in my life I feel like I don't know how to do something completely new and strange to me. It's so great that my companion is the leading baptizing missionary in the mission, but that makes me feel the pressure of being better and better, and it's only my first week. But i know I can do all things through Christ. I am learning so much. I love you more than words can express and I miss you terribly. I hope all is well with the floods, that makes me really sad. But Christ is getting ready to come, that's for sure.
Give the family my love. Tell Connor congrats on team captain, he's a good kid. tell kellie I love her and I always ttell all the cute brazillian girls about my beautiful sister who will meet them one day. tell colby to keep working hard! I love you all so much.

On Mon, Sep 9, 2013 at 5:20 PM, Greg Sperry <greg.sperry@sbcglobal.net> wrote:
Hello my dear daughter,
You may have read this poem before. It's one that I used to help keep me motivated when I was feeling a bit down. Don't think so much of me as the father in the poem, as Heavenly Father. I've tried to be a good father, but He is the perfect father for each of us, there to cheer us on and encourage us when we need it.
Love you,
The Race
Whenever I start to hang my head in front of failure’s face,
my downward fall is broken by the memory of a race.
A children’s race, young boys, young men; how I remember well,
excitement sure, but also fear, it wasn’t hard to tell.
They all lined up so full of hope, each thought to win the race
or tie for first, or if not that, at least take second place.
Their parents watched from off the side, each cheering for their son,
and each boy hoped to show his folks that he would be the one.
The whistle blew and off they flew, like chariots of fire,
to win, to be the hero there, was each young boy’s desire.
One boy in particular, whose dad was in the crowd,
was running in the lead and thought “My dad will be so proud.”
But as he speeded down the field and crossed a shallow dip,
the little boy who thought he’d win, lost his step and slipped.
Trying hard to catch himself, his arms flew everyplace,
and midst the laughter of the crowd he fell flat upon his face.
As he fell, his hope fell too; he couldn’t win it now.
Humiliated, he just wished to disappear somehow.
But as he fell his dad stood up and showed his anxious face,
which to the boy so clearly said, “Get up and win the race!”
He quickly rose, no damage done, behind a bit that’s all,
and ran with all his mind and might to make up for his fall.
So anxious to restore himself, to catch up and to win,
his mind went faster than his legs. He slipped and fell again. 
He wished that he had quit before with only one disgrace.
“I’m hopeless as a runner now, I shouldn’t try to race.”
But through the laughing crowd he searched and found his father’s face
with a steady look that said again, “Get up and win the race!”
So he jumped up to try again, ten yards behind the last.
“If I’m to gain those yards,” he thought, “I’ve got to run real fast!”
Exceeding everything he had, he regained eight, then ten...
but trying hard to catch the lead, he slipped and fell again. 
Defeat! He lay there silently. A tear dropped from his eye.
“There’s no sense running anymore! Three strikes I’m out! Why try?
I’ve lost, so what’s the use?” he thought. “I’ll live with my disgrace.”
But then he thought about his dad, who soon he’d have to face.
“Get up,” an echo sounded low, “you haven’t lost at all,
for all you have to do to win is rise each time you fall.
Get up!” the echo urged him on, “Get up and take your place!
You were not meant for failure here! Get up and win the race!”
So, up he rose to run once more, refusing to forfeit,
and he resolved that win or lose, at least he wouldn’t quit.
So far behind the others now, the most he’d ever been,
still he gave it all he had and ran like he could win.
Three times he’d fallen stumbling, three times he rose again.
Too far behind to hope to win, he still ran to the end.
They cheered another boy who crossed the line and won first place,
head high and proud and happy -- no falling, no disgrace.
But, when the fallen youngster crossed the line, in last place,
the crowd gave him a greater cheer for finishing the race.
And even though he came in last with head bowed low, unproud,
you would have thought he’d won the race, to listen to the crowd.
And to his dad he sadly said, “I didn’t do so well.”
“To me, you won,” his father said. “You rose each time you fell.”
And now when things seem dark and bleak and difficult to face,
the memory of that little boy helps me in my own race.
For all of life is like that race, with ups and downs and all.
And all you have to do to win is rise each time you fall.
And when depression and despair shout loudly in my face,
another voice within me says, “Get up and win the race!”

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