Getting Back on Life's Course

for the week of February 18, 2002
by Rubel Shelly

I suspect you grew up hearing what my Daddy used to tell me: "Son, when a horse throws you, I want to see you get right back on him. Do you hear me?"

Well, yes, I heard him. It's just that we didn't own a horse. But the point of it all wasn't really about horses, falling off, and getting back on them. It was about tenacity and persistence in life. It was about believing in something and not giving up. Here's a story that reminded me of his advice.

Seven horses were entered in the Feast of St. Raymond Novices' Chase at Southwell, England, last month. I don't know anything about "St. Raymond," but what happened that day may just qualify him as the Patron of Unlikely Victories. The favorite in the race was a horse named Family Business. Jockey Tony McCoy was in the saddle and set to ride him over the course to victory.

Things went reasonably well until a mistake on the tenth of seventeen fences sent McCoy flying. He landed on the muddy ground, threw off his helmet in disgust, and started walking his horse off the course. Glancing up occasionally at the other horses and riders, he saw first one and then another slip on the wet turf. To make a long story short, not a single one of the original seven covered the course without tumbling. It looked more like bowling than steeplechase!

"I started walking back toward the weighing room," said McCoy, "and there was one less standing every time I looked. I thought maybe I should get back up and see what happens." So, four minutes after being thrown, he got back on Family Business, re-jumped Fence 10, and completed the 3 1/16-mile course.

Tony McCoy wound up the winning rider although with an incredibly slow time. He was more than four minutes slower than the average time for races run on the same track. Resolve proved to be more important than speed that day.

Discouraged over the economy? Frustrated with a job search? Having problems in your family? Has a relationship broken down? Suffering from a major spiritual setback? Has an old addiction resurfaced to throw you?

Being thrown doesn't mean the race is over or that you're through. You have the thrilling option of getting up again and finishing your course.

Here is what the Bible says: "Though a righteous person falls seven times, he rises again, but the wicked are brought low by calamity" (Proverbs 24:16).



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