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|April 8, 2013
Life on Planet KathyPreparing for the Challenges of Life
by Kathryn H. Kidd
When I got home from the hospital, there were three months of television waiting for me to watch. I felt rich! All our favorite reality shows had been preserved through the miracle of Tivo, and were waiting for Fluffy and me to pick and choose from the smorgasbord of visual treasures.
We soon tucked ourselves in and started watching episodes of our favorite television series, “The Amazing Race.” We were able to watch the end of last season’s episodes, and the beginning of this season’s. This meant we were able to observe two groups of hapless travelers go around the world, totally unprepared for the experience.
Anyone who has watched “The Amazing Race” knows there are some things that the teams are absolutely going to need to do before the end of the competition. Here are a few:
Drive a standard transmission (stick shift). Not every country’s automobiles are the same as the ones in the United States, and not every rental car has an automatic transmission.
Read a map. This should be a no-brainer when you’re traveling in unfamiliar terrain.
Follow directions: At every juncture of the trip, team members are given clues they will have to read and instructions they will have to follow to reach their next destination.
Conquer their fear of heights: Like it or not, at least one person from every team is going to have to jump off a bridge with a bungee cord or rappel down the tallest building in a distant country. It may even be both team members. The people who plan “The Amazing Race” have a lot of fun pitting the teams against their fear of heights.
Learn how to swim. At some point in the race, people are going to have to swim. The problem is, nobody knows which team member is going to be immersed. That means both team members should be swimmers of at least average ability. It is dumfounding that just about every season there is someone who cannot swim.
Run. At every pit stop and especially at the end of the race, team members run to beat out other teams. Anyone who can’t run will probably not make it to the winners’ circle.
Light a fire. Okay, I confess I’ve never seen contestants on “The Amazing Race” have to light a fire. But one would think the players of “Survivor” would know two or three ways to light a fire without matches before they ever got stranded on the island. After all, they don’t have plumbing. They can’t even drink the water they find unless they boil it first — and boiling can’t be done without a flame.
Despite the evidence from past seasons, Fluffy and I are constantly amazed at people who start running “The Amazing Race” without having any experience driving a stick shift or reading a map or following directions. There are invariably people who get penalized for not following the route or people who get lost because they can’t read maps, or people who get stuck in the middle of nowhere because they were given an automobile with a stick shift and they can’t figure out how to make one work.
The same goes double for the “Survivor” castaways. Most of the contestants (and the women almost invariably) stand around and wait for somebody else to light that first fire. More often than not, nobody on the team can do it and they have to shiver in the rain without eating or drinking anything until they are given fire at their first tribal council.
Fluffy and I watch the reality show contestants fail at what should be rudimentary tasks, and we just shake our heads. “Why can’t people prepare ahead of time to learn things they know they’re going to have to do?” we ask each other. “Where are their brains?”
But the same can be said for all of us. Just as contestants need to prepare for “The Amazing Race,” all of us need to prepare for the amazing race that is called life. One thing I’ve learned in the past three months is that life is fragile, and can be taken away at any moment and without warning. What are we doing to prepare for that great day?
I don’t mean we should hide in our closets and pray and read scriptures until the time comes. That isn’t the way God expects us to live our lives. On the contrary, we are supposed to be in the thick of life — living and laughing and loving, but always with our senses attuned to the people around us so we can offer love and support when it is needed.
There are lessons we all need to learn here — lessons that are as unique to each individual as our fingerprints. Do we see those lessons when the opportunity presents itself, or are we so busy with the minutiae of life that we overlook them and never learn the things we were put on Earth to learn?
Unlike “The Amazing Race,” there cannot be just one winner in life. In fact, God wants all of us to be winners and to return to Him triumphant at the end of this mortal existence.
|Copyright © 2024 by Kathryn H. Kidd
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