The Amazing Race

Know what I did yesterday? I competed in my own version of The Amazing Race. For those of you unfamiliar with it, The Amazing Race is a reality show that follows the adventures of several teams of ordinary people racing around the world competing for a prize of a million dollars. Don and I watch the show each week, and as I chronicled my day’s activities for him late last night, I finally breathed a sigh of exhaustion and moaned, “I feel like I’ve been on The Amazing Race!”

No, I didn’t get on a plane, ride a bike, row a boat, or compete in challenges like milking camels or eating unappetizing international foods. I simply went Christmas shopping. Think I’m being overly dramatic? Think again. Since we have very few places to shop in our town other than Wal-mart, I always have way too much to do when I go to T-town for my monthly writers meetings. With Christmas shopping added to the mix, I found myself running The Amazing Race, not just watching it.

I didn’t have a partner like the teams on the show do (the friend I go to the meetings with is battling bad knees right now). My only competitor was the clock, but that was enough. I went armed with my list of stops and gift ideas, knowing I had only x-amount of time to try to conquer it all. After making the drive and parking in front of my first stop, I pulled out my list, reviewed it, put on my game face, and started walking. Or maybe I should say sprinting. I move fast on marathon shopping days — just ask my family.

I didn’t stand in lines at airport ticket counters, but I did stand in lines at almost every check out or customer service. I wasn’t required to search through hundreds of assigned items trying to spot one with a special mark, but I certainly scoured aisles and shelves in store after store trying to find what I had in mind for those on my list.

While driving from place to place, I ate my lunch and plotted new strategies to deal with the roadblocks and detours that presented themselves — stores that had closed, stores that had moved, discontinued items, out-of-stock items, high prices, wrong color, wrong style, a phone call late in the day from an unnamed family member finally giving me a list of ideas… You get the picture. My roadblocks and detours were certainly different from those on the show, but they challenged and stressed me just the same.

I didn’t give up, though, and along with the frustrations, I also experienced some pleasant surprises and successes. I pressed on until I reached the pit stop for my race — the restaurant where I met my friend for supper. She can attest to the fact that I showed up looking a little rattled and frazzled, but I made it by the appointed time. Problem is, I didn’t accomplish all on my list. I guess the clock won. I did the best I could, though, and my trunk was filled with the proof :)

I would rather my Christmas shopping be more leisurely and “merry”, but sometimes our situations don’t afford us the luxury of our “rathers”. And so for now, I may have to compete in The Amazing Race from time to time. What about you? Are you in the midst of a race of some sort or faced with the prospect of one? I encourage you to put on your game face and start walking — or sprinting or whatever you have to do. Press on and don’t give up. Bet you’ll have a friend waiting for you at your pit stop, too.

“…let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” (Hebrews 12:1b NIV)

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