Do you remember relay races when you were small? That baton gave me sleepless nights. I was always terrified that I would miss it and let the whole side down! The egg race was another horror for me… getting that egg to the other side safely made me break out in a sweat. Looking back I realise the lessons in those races – at the time they just gave me a junior ulcer (if it wasn’t a real medical condition, it is now:-).
So by now, you know that my “Kruger days” are filled with fresh air and sunshine, nature, inspiration and loads of thoughts all scribbled on my journal pages… then they land up on your computer screen many ‘sleeps’ later. This is one of those thoughts, that was inspired by the Impalas. Most people eventually just drive past them without a second thought – but I happen to really love them, and often park for a while to just watch them. They have an interesting social hierarchy and I gather from my visits with them, that they have sentinels who are appointed to be on the lookout for danger. Not just one – several. They work together to keep the herd safe while everyone else continues their normal daily business. I assume the sentinels work shifts and understand the meaning of teamwork. A few weeks ago, I saw the result of their vigilance in action, when they began to sound the alarm call. The whole herd began to run and jump across the road… I waited to see why and was rewarded with a sighting of hunting lionesses… who because of the team effort of Impala sentinels, did not have Impala on their lunch menu that day.
That was what really reminded me of the relays of my childhood. I realised we never really stop running relays over the course of our entire lives We are constantly given opportunities to lay good foundations for those who come after us, only when we are ‘big’ real life is a relay on steroids – high-speed with a spoon and an unboiled egg! The stakes are high, but I think we sometimes inadvertently raise them even higher because we try to run alone. I confess there have been times when I forgot I was part of a relay team and I carried the stress and burden alone. I landed up being exhausted and upon closer inspection the egg I delivered may have shown a few small cracks (I don’t know, but it’s not impossible). It may even have been scrambled for all I know!
The Impalas have got the art of relay taped and I suspect it may just be because their survival depends on it. My survival depended on it too – on knowing when my season was over. I ran hard – with endurance, but I may have run more laps than I needed to. When I eventually passed the baton, there were fresh hands and feet ready and waiting.
I am persuaded that life is a season of relays. It does not matter how well or hard you run, if you don’t know when to pass the baton to the next runner – your survival depends on it and so does their’s. If you are weary and all poured out today, could it be that you are running bonus laps? I want to encourage you – your team members (family/ friends/ fellow believers) are waiting with open hands and hearts, eager to learn the skill of running with a high-risk baton – if you’ll let them. If you do, you will be refreshed and renewed and ready to cheer them on when they need it most in their race. If your baton is too heavy, maybe you have carried it too long. Let it go and run free.