Saturday, June 28, 2008

Life's Instructions From a Marathon Race

Could one still claim victory in a race without finishing it? Does giving up always mean defeat?

We often heard that when we dream, we dream high and dream big, because they cost nothing at all. Indeed in dreaming, it only takes an optimistic mind, a hopeful heart, and a positive outlook, not limited in our comfort zones, but goes beyond the corners of our inner thoughts and deepest desires.

“The greatest struggles are not fought in the world’s battlefields; they are fought in human hearts as men and women war with the pressures within which often defeat them. The real enemies are forces such as fear, worry, inadequacy, inferiority, anger, frustration, and the inability to cope.”

One early morning of August 19, couple of weeks ago, I dreamed. And that dream was big enough to cover the whole area of Negros. I embarked on a challenge I did not know I am capable of withstanding. I joined the 31st Milo marathon held in Dumaguete City under the 21-kilometer category.

I must admit that I am happy to be out in the fields. I always love to hear the wrestling sounds of withered leaves in the fields, marvel the swaying branches to the music of the wind and witness the dancing of the blooming flowers under the glaring sun. However, during that time, I had to let go of the beautiful sceneries around. The thing that lingered at the back of my mind was the ultimate goal of finishing the race. Although that was my first time to join a marathon, loosing in the race never crossed my mind. I always consider myself a fighter. I don’t just give up without exhausting everything that I have. However the way to get there proved to be a long and winding road. My endurance faded, and I know that I had to give up the fight.

Looking back, I realized that life is like a marathon race.

When the race started, all of the runners were all equipped with the spirit and dynamism to run ahead of the others. All of us had a good start. Life is like that! We always want a good start. A good start will build our endurance and confidence to continue and finish what we have started.

After a kilometer in the race, I noticed that the whole group of runners was already in smaller factions. There were two’s, three’s, and some were running alone. Life is like that! We want to be people that have the same personality and character like us. We want to talk to people that think like us, share the same passion with us, and have convictions and ideals similar to our own. We try to sort out people and make labels on them. We sometimes avoid people that do not meet our personal standards.

After the tenth kilometer of the race, the distinction of the best, better, and good runners were already manifested. Life is like that! The picture of the world today depicts a playing field where every person tries to outdo another person. Competition is an everyday reality. Inescapable. Inevitable. We have to develop our own cutting edge distinct from the rest to spell our character and worth.

After reaching the mid-way of the race, I noticed that the person I am running with changes. Life is like that! People come and go in our lives. At some point in our life, friends laugh with us, share lonely moments with us, and make us feel valued and loved. However, there are also times when our friends are out of coverage area, cannot be reached, or left unattended. These are the moments in life that we need to row our own boat to reach our own destination.

It is also at this point of the race that I cross paths with strangers who will give unsolicited remarks, judgments, and opinions. Example of a remark that I heard was, “It’s better for me to go back my way because the finish line is still a long way to go”. Life is like that! Everyday we brush elbows with strangers, not so perfect, that will ruin our day, if we allow them. Nowadays people have become so opinionated, wordy, and judgmental. However, we should realize the fact that people’s opinions are born out of their own judgment. Their opinion therefore goes through our filtering medium to check their verity and validity. Words therefore should not break us. After all, we know ourselves better than them.

Finally, after the 21 kilometers of marathon race, I realized that victory is not just pronounced as to who finished first, second, and third. It is not just about who finished within the allotted time. More than winning, loosing, and finishing on time, it is more about, conquering our own fear, worry, inadequacy, inferiority, anger, frustration, and our inability to cope. Because if at all, at the end of the race, there are only winners and losers, to which category do the strangers, water boys, and organizers belong? Isn’t it that they are part of the race?

No comments: