As a former runner (really!) this article caught my eye and has a p[lace in my heart. Of course it isn’t just about the running. It’s about going outside the accepted conventions (rules) when situations demand it. It is about putting our humanity – our “child of God”ness first in whatever situation calls for it.
A high school runner was disqualified from her final cross country race as a senior this week for breaking the rules, and that is something she should take great pride in.
Gracie Bucher, an 8th grader from Windom, Minn., was near the finish line at a section cross country race recently when she basically lost control of her body. As Bucher’s legs felt heavy and she struggled to breathe, those watching the race continuously warned other runners that they “can’t touch her” while Gracie fell to the ground numerous times. Under the rules of the Minnesota State High School League, any runner physically assisting another runner results in a disqualification for both.
Liana Blomgren, a 12th grader from Mountain Lake High School, was very familiar with the rules. She didn’t care about the consequences. “I knew she wasn’t going to get to the finish line by herself and I knew that she needed somebody and nobody else was there for her.”
Blomgren helped Bucher off the ground and supported her as they both crossed the finish line. Rules, as they say, are rules, and both runners were disqualified. But the gesture could not have been more admirable.
“She was definitely a miracle for me,” Bucher said. “There’s nothing better than that. She was like my angel that day. Knowing that she would do that, especially her senior year in her last race, it just means everything.”
Bucher was later taken to the emergency room and diagnosed with mononucleosis, which explains why she essentially had no energy. She brought Blomgren flowers and a Dairy Queen gift card at Liana’s school the following day. “I DQ’d her,” Bucher joked. “I figure I better do it again.”
Because of incidents like the one between Bucher and Blomgren, the Minnesota State High School League is among several high school athletic organizations to adopt a new rule starting in 2017 that will allow runners to assist other competitors without penalty as long as a medical care provider is not present.
“I don’t remember what place I was in the section meet last year. I don’t remember what place I was in the section meet the year before that,” Blomgren said. “But I know I’m going to remember this.”
The coming year will stretch us in many new and controversial ways, calling us as Christians to make decisions as to who we must stop to help along the way, rules or no rules. Do we lift up the fallen or leave them behind? Do we risk or share our time, prayers and efforts to help others, or will we be too focused on our own
race that we don’t notice, or don’t care about those who struggle just to stay in the race? The Church of Jesus Christ faces unprecedented opportunities to live out the Biblical mandates that come with our call to faithful living.
“ For this reason, since the day we heard it, we have not ceased praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you may lead lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, as you bear fruit in every good work and as you grow in the knowledge of God. May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
Blessings on Our Beloved Church Family,