Happy Friday to you!
Today, I am welcoming back Author Robert Parlante, who is sharing a lovely story with us. I hope you enjoy as much as I did!!
One for the Record Books
(based on true events)
By Robert Parlante
The night was still and frigid. The ice-crusted trees stood stiff. I remember the evening being cloudless and the stars especially bright that windless night. All the other kids had gone home, pulling their sleds behind them like defeated warriors.
“It’s too cold for sleigh riding,” my 11-year-old friend said. I stood alone, looking down the glazed road that ran through the country hamlet where I lived.
The kids used the road for sledding even though our parents warned us it was too dangerous. It was the only road passing through Keystone, running for miles down the hilly Pennsylvania countryside to the railroad tracks along the creek. No car could maneuver its icy threat that night. But I knew my Western Flyer sled would make easy work of the challenge.
And a challenge it was. No one had ever sledded from the top of Ridgewood Road to the sharp bend, Dead Man’s Curve, about a half mile away. Usually road conditions were not right. Sometimes a car would come by, and you had to swerve off the road into a ditch to get out of harm’s way.
Halfway along the stretch was a flat section. I know of no one who had been able to sled through that troublesome spot without coming to a stop. But that night, I pulled the flaps on my hat tighter over my ears. I grabbed my sled by its outer rails and started running. With a plunge forward, I belly-flopped onto the glassy road. I was on my way.
I felt like I was powered by an engine as I skipped effortlessly down the first part of the course. As my speed increased, my excitement grew. I never thought I could go so fast.
I spotted my house in the distance. One instinct said to stop and steer off the road. My parents would be upset if they knew I was sledding on the road again. I ignored the thought and kept right on going. I felt like I was never going to stop.
I got to the second downgrade, and my speed picked up. This was an important hill where you had to increase velocity before the flat stretch.
The sled rattled, and the ice beneath its runners crackled into submission. I was now at the flat spot. I pumped my legs up and down, trying to urge the sled forward.
I slowed down and resigned myself to another typical run. Nobody ever got through this spot.
I could see the beginning of the next downward slope ahead. It was just before the dark and desolate stretch to Dead Man’s Curve. So close and yet so far.
My body pushed forward into the sled, pumping with all its strength.
“God, no cars tonight! Please!” I prayed out loud.
Instead of slowing further, I felt my speed increase. “I’m going to do it!” I suddenly cried out loud.
It was like triumphant propulsion into space as I hit the crest and eased onto the last leg of the challenge. The sled began to move more swiftly. The vibration of runners against the ice sounded like thunderous applause in the quiet night.
When I reached the curve, I twisted the sled to a stop. There was no need to go any further.
“I did it!” This was one for the record books.
I stood up, my gloved hands still clutching the sled rails. I was a herald athlete waiting for his crown of honor.
But my euphoria quickly dissipated when I realized no one had seen my run.
My friends would never believe it. There was no way to prove it. No audience. No photos. No newspaper reporters.
Then Dead Man’s Curve suddenly felt ominous. I hated the desolate spot with no light and no houses around. The specter of auto accidents and deaths at the sharp S-curve overwhelmed my mind.
Where’s my victory? I thought. Why is fear overtaking me?
I could smell perspiration and my wet wool hat. I felt a gust of wind. The night cold began to numb me.
The stars still shone brightly. That was comforting.
I began the long trek home, trying not to lose courage as I thought of the tales of smashed-up cars.
I took in a deep breath and gazed into the heavens. They looked clear and bright, like a freshly washed window. And in that moment I realized that just as God sees my defeats, he sees my victories. Was that enough? For the first time in my life, I realized the power of God to know my life. The Lord was my audience. He was the witness. Only his words counted.
I did not actually hear God saying, “Well done, faithful servant.” But as the wind picked up and the ice-crusted trees creaked, it felt like those words.
Our goals as Christians will always be to face any challenge fearlessly __ to finish the race marked out for us by Christ. We can rejoice over those who have courage to stand alone for the Lord, ignoring the need for applause from the world.
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race. I have kept the faith,” the apostle Paul wrote to Timothy (2 Timothy 4:7)
Whether or not there was someone in his view applauding, Paul never lost sight of the spiritual prize.
On that icy, victorious night, my young mind did not comprehend the spiritual prize. I was occupied with other concerns, such as explaining to my parents what I had done.
But in the end, only a few things matter. We should live to please the Lord. Not only does that goal give freedom, but assurance as well. We can know “there is in store for me the crown of righteous” (2 Timothy 4:7, 8).
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Until next time……………………………… Stay Creative!!