The race Lance lost. I was thrilled to see Lance Armstrong win his seventh Tour de France. No one has ever won the Tour that many times in a row, but he would likely say the most important race he’s ever won is the race for his life. In his book, “It’s Not About the Bike,” he tells of conquering overwhelming odds in his defeat of testicular cancer.
Yet as inspiring as his victory was, he lost the most important race of his life — the race to keep his family together. He entered that race on May 8, 1998, when he married his wife Kristen. And he gave up that race when he filed for divorce in September 2003.
I’m not saying this to be judgmental. Keeping a family together is the hardest race anyone will ever enter. Like the Tour de France, it’s sometimes run in stages and not everyone will finish.
We run many races in life: the career race, the race to surpass our peers, the race to fame and fortune, the race to retirement. But these races are detours and distractions.
The real contest is keeping a family together. And if you finish that race, I wouldn’t be overly enamored by someone who has merely won the Tour de France seven times — you’ve got the lead in the most important race you’ll ever run.
Running from fear.In the United Kingdom, a 27-year-old Brazilian named Jean Charles de Menezes, who had been under surveillance for possible terrorist activities, fled from police into a subway that had previously been bombed.
In a “Mission Impossible”-type chase scene, Menezes leaped through the closing doors of a subway train. Five police officers squeezed in behind him and tackled him on the floor. Eight shots rang out and the 27-year-old unarmed Menezes was dead.
If you consider the whole pursuit on a spiritual level, I think you will see two pursuits: the pursuit of revenge and the pursuers being chased by their own demons of fear.
What the police were fighting against was, tragically, what they became to Menezes. When we let fear rule our lives, the ultimate terror will always be how the “evil one” will use ordinary people to do such acts of madness.
The sorriest kind of sorry. The last story comes from Pennsylvania, where Lt. Gov. Catherine Baker Knoll is hoping to save a little face as she pens an apology to the family of a dead Marine. Apparently, Knoll decided to show up at the Marine’s funeral passed out her business card while sharing antiwar sentiment.
While she’s not asked me to write the apology letter for her, my advice to her would be to skip the kind of language many of us often use in expressing apologies — statements such as “We deeply regret,” or “I am extraordinarily sorry.” It’s not that there is so much wrong with those apologies, it’s just that they confuse remorse for repentance.
When we confuse remorse and repentance, it’s easy to say we’re sorry (remorse.) But true repentance begins with “I was wrong. Please forgive me.”
When you say “forgive me,” you are placing yourself in the vulnerable position of being turned away. By showing your willingness to be turned away, you are truly offering the other cheek.