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Derek Redmond Finishes The Race

Unlike Carl Lewis and Daley Thompson, Derek Redmond is not a name that conjures up memories of Olympic gold medals. But it is Redmond who defines the essence of the human spirit.

Redmond arrived at the 1992 Olympic Summer Games in Barcelona determined to win a medal in the 400. The colour of the medal was meaningless; he just wanted to win one. Just one.

He had been forced to withdraw from the 400 at the 1988 Games in Seoul, only 10 minutes before the race, because of an Achilles tendon injury. He then underwent five surgeries over the next year. This was the same runner who had shattered the British 400-meter record at age 19. So when the 1992 Games arrived, this was his time, his moment, his stage, to show the world how good he was and who he was.

Derek’s father Jim had accompanied him to Barcelona, just as he did for all world competitions. They were as close as a father and son could be. Inseparable, really. The best of friends. When Derek ran, it was as if his father were running right next to him.

THE MOMENT
The day of the race arrives. Father and son reminisce about what it took for Derek to get to this point. They talk about ignoring past heartbreaks, past failures. They agree that if anything bad happens, no matter what it is, Derek has to finish the race, period.

The top four finishers in each of the two semi-final heats qualify for the Olympic final. As race time approaches for the semi-final 400 heat, Jim heads up to his seat at the top of Olympic Stadium, not far from where the Olympic torch was lit just a few days earlier. He is wearing a T-shirt that reads, “Have you hugged your foot today?”

The stadium is packed with 65,000 fans, bracing themselves for one of sport’s greatest and most exciting spectacles. The race begins and Redmond breaks from the pack and quickly seizes the lead. “Keep it up, keep it up,” Jim says to himself.

Down the backstretch, only 175 meters away from finishing, Redmond is a shoo-in to make the finals. Suddenly, he hears a pop. In his right hamstring. He pulls up lame, as if he had been shot.

“Oh, no,” Jim says to himself. His face pales. His leg quivering, Redmond begins hopping on one leg, then slows down and falls to the track. As he lays on the track, clutching his right hamstring, a medical personnel unit runs toward him. At the same time, Jim Redmond, seeing his son in trouble, races down from the top row of the stands, sidestepping people, bumping into others. He has no credential to be on the track, but all he thinks about is getting to his son, to help him up. “I wasn’t going to be stopped by anyone,” he later tells the media.

On the track, Redmond realizes his dream of an Olympic medal is gone. Tears run down his face. “All I could think was, ‘I’m out of the Olympics — again,'” he would say.

As the medical crew arrives with a stretcher, Redmond tells them, “No, there’s no way I’m getting on that stretcher. I’m going to finish my race.”

Then, in a moment that will live forever in the minds of millions, Redmond lifts himself to his feet, ever so slowly, and starts hobbling down the track. The other runners have finished the race, with Steve Lewis of the U.S. winning the contest in 44.50. Suddenly, everyone realizes that Redmond isn’t dropping out of the race by hobbling off to the side of the track. No, he is actually continuing on one leg. He’s going to attempt to hobble his way to the finish line. All by himself. All in the name of pride and heart.

Slowly, the crowd, in total disbelief, rises and begins to roar. The roar gets louder and louder. Through the searing pain, Redmond hears the cheers, but “I wasn’t doing it for the crowd,” he would later say. “I was doing it for me. Whether people thought I was an idiot or a hero, I wanted to finish the race. I’m the one who has to live with it.”

One painful step at a time, each one a little slower and more painful than the one before, his face twisted with pain and tears, Redmond limps onward, and the crowd, many in tears, cheer him on.

Suddenly, Jim Redmond finally gets to the bottom of the stands, leaps over the railing, avoids a security guard, and runs out to his son, with two security people chasing after him. “That’s my son out there,” he yells back to security, “and I’m going to help him.”

Finally, with Derek refusing to surrender and painfully limping along the track, Jim reaches his son at the final curve, about 120 meters from the finish, and wraps his arm around his waist.

“I’m here, son,” Jim says softly, hugging his boy. “We’ll finish together.” Derek puts his arms around his father’s shoulders and sobs.

Together, arm in arm, father and son, with 65,000 people cheering, clapping and crying, finish the race, just as they vowed they would. A couple steps from the finish line, and with the crowd in an absolute frenzy, Jim releases the grip he has on his son, so Derek could cross the finish line by himself. Then he throws his arms around Derek again, both crying, along with everyone in the stands and on TV.

“I’m the proudest father alive,” he tells the press afterwards, tears in his eyes. “I’m prouder of him than I would have been if he had won the gold medal. It took a lot of guts for him to do what he did.”

                                          By Rick Weinberg   (Special to ESPN.com)

PARENTHOOD

This lovely true life story above, speaks of the courage and determination of the athlete, but also of the depth of parental love. When our children weep in sorrow, we weep with them.  When they weep tears of joy, tears of joy flow from our eyes.   We want the best for our children and we will do anything we can to help them, but sometimes we are limited in how far we can help, because we are only human.  We have frailties and weaknesses.  We are not all-powerful.  We are not all-knowing.  There is a Father in Heaven who can and will help us when no-one else can.  God is all-powerful, all-knowing and all-seeing and distance is no problem for God, we can pray for our children when they are far away. He is everywhere!  God loves each one of us with a love that far surpasses even the love of the best of parents.  God’s love is unconditional.  But God is holy.  In order to tap in to that love that He has for us, we have to accept His Son Jesus.  Jesus, although He is God, came to earth, lived a perfect life and was crucified for our sin, died, was buried, but rose to life again.  He lives now and forever, seated at the right hand of God the Father.  He is the mediator between us and God the Father.  If we admit that we are a sinner and repent of our sin and want to live to please God and renounce the devil, we can ask Jesus to live in our heart and be our Lord and Saviour. This is sometimes called ‘being saved’ or ‘being born again’.  It is a ‘new life’. You may want to do this for the first time in your life.  If you have already done this several years ago and feel that you have somehow drifted away from God’s ways, you can re-dedicate yourself to God and He will welcome you back with open arms.

The Story of the Prodigal (Lost) Son

Luke 15:11-32

11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons.

12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.

13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living.

14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need.

15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs.

16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death!

18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.

19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’

20 So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.

23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate.

24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.

25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing.

26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on.

27 ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’

28 “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him.

29 But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends.

30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’

31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.

32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”

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WHAT ABOUT WHEN I FAIL?

After we have been ‘saved’ or ‘born again’ we begin to notice changes in our lives. We have an enhanced conscience; and love, joy, peace, humility, patience etc., start to grow in our spirit as Jesus begins to change us from the inside.  It is a lifelong process and we shall not be completely perfect until we die, but gradually all the bad attitudes in us, fade away, as Jesus does His sanctifying work. 

Sometimes when we are genuinely living, being and doing our very best and putting God first in our lives, things happen and we slip up.  We may sin or just drift away from obeying God.   We may do things we shouldn’t or not do things we should!  In other words we fall.  The important thing at these times is to get back up, as soon as possible, after the fall!  Straightaway pray to God, repent (turn from the wrong), say you are sorry and then ask God to help you to live His way from now on.  God knows our hearts and He knows when we are sincere.  He knows we will slip up and fail sometimes.  He has already prepared the way.  We do not lose our salvation when we slip or fall or fail; we will still go to Heaven when we die, (or when Jesus comes to the earth the second time), but we may lose some rewards.

The following poem says it all!

    

THE RACE (Get Back Up And Win)

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 that 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 on 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 that 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 that 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 that 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 that race!

       Attributed to Dr. D.H. “Dee” Groberg.

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DON’T QUIT

By Edgar A. Guest (1881-1959) 

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and debts are high,
And you want to smile but have to sigh.
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must, but don’t you quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As everyone of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won if he’d stuck it out,
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow,
You might succeed with another blow.
Often the struggler has given up,
When he might captured the victor’s cup.
And he learned too late, when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown,
Success is failure turned inside out,
The silver tint of clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems afar,
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit,
It’s when things seem worst that you mustn’t quit.

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SHELTERED IN THE ARMS OF GOD

I feel the touch of hands so kind and tender.
They're leading me in the paths that I must trod.
I'll have no fear for Jesus walks beside me
For I'm sheltered in the arms of God.
So let the storm clouds rage high,
The dark clouds rise,
They don't bother me;
For I'm sheltered in the arms of God.
He walks with me,
And naught of earth shall harm me,
For I'm sheltered in the arms of God.
Soon I shall hear the call from heaven's portals
Come home my child,
It's the last mile you must trod
I'll fall asleep
And wake in God's sweet heaven
For I'm sheltered in the arms of God.
So let the storm clouds rage high,
The dark clouds rise,
They don't bother me;
For I'm sheltered in the arms of God.
He walks with me,
And naught of earth shall harm me,
For I'm sheltered in the arms of God.

Written by Dottie Rambo.

    

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LET YOUR LIVING WATER FLOW

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus Father, Father, Father Spirit, Spirit, Spirit

Let Your living water flow over my soul.

Let Your Holy Spirit come and take control.

Of every situation that has troubled my mind.

All my cares and burdens on You I do roll.

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus Father, Father, Father Spirit, Spirit, Spirit

Give your life to Jesus, let Him fill your soul.

Let Him take you in His arms and make you whole.

If you give your life to Him, He’ll set you free.

You can live and reign with Him eternally.

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus Father, Father, Father Spirit, Spirit, Spirit

Come now, Holy Spirit, and take full control.

Take me in Your loving arms and make me whole.

Lord, I give my life to Thee, for all it’s worth.

Take me, Lord, and use me upon this earth.

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus Father, Father, Father Spirit, Spirit, Spirit

Words and Music by John Watson       (c) 1986 Ampelos Music 

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  Here is a good song to sing out loud when you are feeling depressed!

  Use your imagination.

  Picture yourself on stage singing it with all your heart!

THAT’S LIFE

Writers: Dean Kay, Kelly L. Gordon.  Sung by Frank Sinatra and Others.

That’s life, that’s what people say.
You’re riding high in April,
Shot down in May.
But I know I’m gonna change their tune,
When I’m right back on top in June.

That’s life, funny as it seems.
Some people get their kicks,
Steppin’ on dreams
But I just can’t let it get me down,
Cause this big old world keeps spinnin’ around.

I’ve been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate,
A poet, a pawn and a king.
I’ve been up and down and over and out
But I know one thing:
Each time I find myself flat on my face,
I pick myself up and get back in the race.

That’s life, I can’t deny it,
I thought of quitting,
But my heart just won’t buy it.
Cause if I didn’t think it was worth a try,
I’d have to roll myself up in a big ball and die.

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