The Unseen Disadvantage

THE RACE 

The first runner is 100 feet ahead of almost everyone 

but the second runner is very close behind him

The third runner is 50 feet behind the first two

The last runner is a shocking 100 feet the behind the first two. 

*

Now a loudspeaker comes on revealing 

there is one last runner who has not even appeared on the horizon yet. 

An aerial view is offered of the running course, 

We now see each of the runners had a different starting point. 

*

And now we see the runner who has not yet appeared on the horizon.

The distance he has had to cross is incomparably longer

than any other runner in the race.

*

Though he is not yet in sight on the horizon, 

this view reveals 

the last runner to be miraculous. 

The greater distance he has traveled is now witnessed.

His endurance, perseverance, and relentless striving 

to conquer the disadvantage 

has revealed the true victor.  

The crowd cheers, reveling in his achievement. 

But he can’t hear them or see them. 

The distance is too great. 

He is looking ahead for the runners he can’t catch up to. 

He feels his race is lost, and begins to despair. 

*  *  *  *  * 

We can’t know another’s journey by watching the finish line. 

If we can’t see the whole picture, 

we can’t know who is in the lead, and who is falling behind

“The 10,000 things rise and fall without cease.” Lao Tzu. 

*

When we see our neighbor who lives on the street

We can consider his unseen disadvantage 

that has led to the disadvantage we can see.

Compassion may replace short-sighted judgment.

*

When we see someone doing so well 

that our own life suddenly seems insignificant

We can consider the distance 

that we have traveled

both within and externally.

*

And if after consideration

we find no justification

for the lack of tantamount achievement in our own life,  

let’s not allow comparison to the well-doer to become self annihilation. 

Let’s allow the comparison to inspire the fire to Strive; 

that it may be received with empowering Gratitude 

and never the obstacle of resentment. 

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Bryant and the Chicken Lady

I love my neighborhood.

I feel safe walking at night.

I went up to the local drugstore,

open 24 hours,

and saw Bryant again,

a man on the street

I met around Thanksgiving.

He said, “I remember you!

You gave me a whole cooked chicken!

Man, that was good!”

I said, “I know,

I got one for me too.”

He was chilled and shivering,

nose was running,

but smiling

with his kind eyes.

I asked if he needed anything,

He said, “No, I’m fine.”

I asked “Are you sure?”

He said,

“Yeah, I’m great no worries.”

I asked if he’d be in the parking lot when I came out.

He said ‘Yes.’

I got some cash when I checked out

and went out to give it to him.

I laughed out loud when I saw

a line,

a little line of people,

waiting,

to give Bryant money.

Ha!

And we were all waiting,

because when someone helps Bryant,

Bryant wants to take the time

to make each one of us

feel appreciated.

Then a man comes out of the market.

He told us we were idiots!

He said,

“This guy is just cleaning up!”

“Get a job!” he yelled at Bryant.

I was last in line,

nearest to the grouch,

and he said to me as he walked off,

“You know he’s taking all of you, don’t you?”

And I said, “No.

He’s giving to all of us.

We’re all just running one more errand in a day

and Bryant gives us the chance

to feel like we’re giving something

that means something

to someone.

He remembers each one of us,

He gives us his kindness,

and

best of all,

he makes each one of us

feel appreciated.

When have you bought so much

for a couple of bucks?”

I’d like to say I reached this cranky man,

and he joined us in line, 

But that didn’t happen.

I did however,

get a little round of applause,

from we who found it worth the wait

and the spare change,

to feel we gave something meaningful,

to be remembered,

to receive such kindness

from our neighbor temporarily without a home,

and best of all,

to feel

our presence mattered today.

Thank you, Bryant.

If

you

ask

me,

you’re not charging enough!

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