It was unintentional. I thought I would be on the sidelines. After all, it was a kids' race. Actually, a mud run. Precisely, the Dirty Myrtle Mud Run. I had signed Page and Graham up for the kids 1-mile event.
Graham had been asking to do his own mud run since he witnessed me get dirty in the Rugged Maniac back in March. Page came along because Graham wanted to do the thing. But me, I had envisioned myself jogging along side the mud holes and mountains, keeping mostly clean and unscathed. I was only there in case Graham needed help. He’s 4. I figured he might need a shove or two to get over some hurdle along the way.
And I also know he gets stubborn. His sister is more than willing to help him. He’s just not always so willing to accept her help. I guess it seems a little less like help if Mama is the one carrying it out. He’s used to that.
So I dressed for the part even though I assumed it was only on an as-needed, push-Graham-over-the-wall basis. I even put on makeup. I wanted to be prepared to quickly get the kids cleaned up and changed so Keith and I could get some stuff done later. The mud run was the day before our monthly family ministry production at Union United Methodist Church, and we needed to get to the fellowship hall and set up lights, sound, video, chairs and other equipment for the following Sunday morning.
We arrived at the mud run at Waterbridge in Carolina Forest just in time to check in and head over to the starting line to wait our turn to join in the waves of kids running the race. In a short time, we were next to take off. When the first obstacle came into view, I knew we were sunk. Literally.
As I watched Page, already out in front, trudge through chest-deep water, I knew Graham could never pass it alone. It was either go around it with him or go through it with him. He was unsure which route he wanted to take. After a few seconds of him wavering, I decided he would be making it across. Wimping out on the first thing in our path would not be good for his mental state as he continued the race.
I scooped him up and put him on my back. Fail. He’d have me gasping for air in no time with his choking me. After prying his hands off my neck, he settled nicely on my hip. It was then I knew he’d be fine. He’d make it through this. Even if he did need my help, my “all-in” help, he’ll make it through. And he did.
He did more than make it through. Graham climbed some extremely steep dirt mountains and made it look easy. He ran almost the entire way. I’m proud to say all three Andersons tackled and conquered every obstacle. I’m particularly proud that Page refused to skip any of them. Even the ones hard for her. A fourth and final Anderson also tackled the terrain and captured wonderful photographs to preserve the memories. We finished the race.
Reminds me so of 2 Timothy 4:7. It says, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
But...I didn’t want to get dirty. I didn’t want to get mud in my hair or waste the makeup I had already applied. I didn’t want to fully commit. I didn’t want to be all-in. I only wanted sideline action. Yet sideline actions only bring sideline results. And not only for me. My actions determined those of my son. I needed to be all-in, to not hold back so that he had the opportunity to do the same.
What fight do you need to fight? What race do you need to finish? Where do you need to keep the faith? Maybe it’s not just for you.
“Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may by matched by your completion of it, according to your means.” 2 Corinthians 8:11