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Slow and steady wins the race

The phrase came to mind as clear skies and acres of green pecan trees flew past me without cheering me up.
It’s an old adage that actually makes some sense. Not like “a rolling stone gathers no moss.” Who would want to gather moss? Not like the old Polish adage, “angels carry drunkards in their arms.” I don’t even know that means. No, this proverb is one to keep - and I was surprised to realize how many areas in life I’ve tended to forget.
All this came to mind while I was literally running from my problems…
I awoke at 3am with my wife moaning and covered in our 9 month old’s projectile spit up. I cleaned the bed while she took a shower and then took a walk to get him back to sleep. He slept about an hour, then didn’t go back to sleep. Later at church, my 5 year old had perhaps the biggest tantrum I’ve ever seen her have. In the middle of church. Because I didn’t draw a crayon unicorn for her. On the right page of her notebook. I didn’t know the human body could bend in so many creative ways, or the vocal cords of a little girl could growl like that. It went on even after I brought her out of the sanctuary, and then most of the way home – after church was over and everyone was done staring at us with disapproval. I got home, disciplined the kid, and growled to my wife, “I’m going jogging.” And I left, with the thought that maybe I should run off and buy a condo somewhere.
As I tried to outrun my responsibilities the conviction hit me that I’m acting just like my 5 year old. This is a temper tantrum because I’m impatient. I don’t think long term. I’ve forgotten.
Slow and steady wins the race.
Here’s what I mean. I want good kids that sit through church now, but don’t want to suffer through the years of actually training of them. I get mad at my kids (or wife, or anyone else) because they’re denying me some pleasure (whatever it happens to be) this moment, instead of thinking of the long term benefit (to everyone: them, God’s kingdom, myself) of waiting on my own comfort and picking up the ol’ foot washing kit to serve them. I don’t see the long term benefits of my kids learning to go to church every Sunday, or the little chunks of sermons we manage to hear and 5 minute snippets of fellowship we snatch between kid dramas. I start dreaming about retirement because the short term misery of some awful case makes me lose sight of the long term benefits to my family of a good steady career. I get overwhelmed because the kids are too much, but I forget that I hope to be looking at them with pride as teenagers and adults accomplishing great things for God. How often do my sins stem from this foul old root of impatience?
Slow and steady wins the race.
One wonders how many broken families might have been saved if we lived by that adage. A long term vision kept before our mind’s eye makes a real difference. One wonders how many people have wandered from their first love for God because they’ve forgotten the eternal bliss of Heaven. Ultimately all of life is a race, and rest in Heaven is the prize.
Slow and steady wins the race.
I picked up a curious, round stone from near a pecan farm, and wrote the words on it with a pen. I plan to keep it in my work bag to help me remember that someday, if I keep at it, I may own one of those pecan farms and populate it with mature, well behaved kids that don’t scream at me and writhe like demoniacs on the floor when I decline to draw crayon unicorns in church. There is hope. It's hard to remember. It’s usually hope for the long run. But there is hope.
Slow and steady wins the race.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weights, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising he shame, and is seated at the right hand of the the throne of God. -Hebrews 12:1-2 
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