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God makes us fit for the calling

The races on the playground of my elementary school were legendary. The winner’s accolade was bragging rights as the “fastest” runner and was fiercely sought after.

“Let’s race!” would sound and a group of schoolmates mustered between two trees which always served as the starting line. The course went around the big slide at the far end of the play area and then made a left going through a narrow gap formed by the monkey bars and a smaller slide. It ended with a long dash back to the trees and an imaginary winner’s tape.

The race began with the traditional: Ready, set, go! But many times, the runners were called back because of someone jumping out front before “go!” It was understandable. The excitement at the start was always high.

Although I had come close to winning a few times, I never did. Well, I never did until I changed my strategy. It wasn’t a revolutionary idea, but I was sure it would help me cross the finish line first.

One day at recess, I stepped off the course counting the paces between the course markers and back to the two trees. Later that afternoon, I recreated the course in my yard and began to practice. I was going to be ready.

Sadly, I didn’t win the next race or the next. But I still practiced. I practiced and practiced and practiced.

The leaves were turning and falling, painting the ground in gold and red. The morning sun made their colors glow as we lined up between the two trees.

“Ready, set, go!”