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11/10/2020 05:10:40 PM


Georgene Johnson lived in Cleveland, Ohio.  She was 42 years old and she was trying to have a good attitude about being 42 years old.  And so she started running and exercising to keep in shape. She said, “I’m not going to look like I am 42, or at least I am going to look like a good 42.”

She did well in her running. She was running farther every day. She thought she would try a little competition and entered a 10K race. That’s about six miles. Nervous about her first race, she got up early and arrived at the start of the race. To her surprise there were a lot of people milling around, stretching, getting ready. All of a sudden a voice on the microphone said, “Move to the starting line.” This was it. A gun sounded and they were off, like a huge wave, hundreds of runners, sweeping her up. She was in the race.                   

After about four miles it occurred to her that they ought to be turning around and heading back to the finish line. She wondered why they didn’t turn around. She stopped and asked an official, “How come the course isn’t turning around?” He said, “Ma’am, you are running the Cleveland Marathon.” Twenty-six miles. Her event, the 10K, was to begin a half-hour after the start of the marathon.     

Now, some of us would have stopped right there and said, that’s it, I’m going home. But to her credit, she kept right on going and finished the race. She said this: “This is not the race I trained for. This is not the race I entered. But for better or worse, this is the race that I am in….”            

I am sure many of us have had the same experience, if not in a marathon then facing one of life’s many surprise challenges.  Was it a relationship that changed into something different?  Was it a job that faced new economic realities?  Was it a health matter? One thing is certain: Life just has a way of doing that to us, picking us up and putting us into situations that we didn't train for, we didn't volunteer for, we didn't want. But for better or for worse, this is the situation we find ourselves in.

Consider divorce. We never dreamed of divorce when we got married. Or think about sickness, debilitation of old age, disease. We never imagined this would happen. Disappointment is part of it. We have all thought at one time or another: “This didn't turn out to be the way I thought it was going to be. I thought my life was going to be different. This isn't the race that I entered.”                                          

Whatever the challenge, we were faced with a decision: do we give up or continue the race, even though it was not the race we entered?  I know that this is a difficult question but I will try to keep running if you will!

Tue, October 3 2023 18 Tishrei 5784