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Miles to Go—Passing the Baton in the New Year


By Marianne Miles

Over the Christmas holidays, my adult children came for a visit. As I walked past one of my daughters who had just bedded down on the couch, I tussled her hair and said, “Good night.”

She reached up to take my hand and asked, “Isn’t it amazing to think that you laid me near those living room windows when I was a baby for a sunning, and now I am an adult laying here on your couch?”

I agreed. I then talked to her of life—how quickly it passes and how soon we burst into the reality of eternity. “Life here is short and challenging but it’s good, and you ‘kids’ are all just in the starting blocks.”

Later, I lay in bed, awake, and thought about those words and wished I could pass on the best parts of this short life. I wished I could hand off my experiences like a baton in a race to my children, yes, but also to you “Miles to Go” readers who long for a comforting word as you parent special needs kids. Perhaps I can if I use a skill I learned long ago.

I ran on my high school girl’s track team for a year. Because of my long legs, my main event was hurdles, but I also ran on the baton relay team. My position in the relay team was in the middle. That meant I both received and passed on the baton. Our team spent a great deal of time practicing the hand-off of this race. We knew if we dropped the baton disaster followed.

I now lay in bed and mused how similar our life is to that relay race. I began my leg of the race, not running, but standing, watching the one who came before who ran with all her might. As she approached, I began to run, but as I ran, I reached behind. Soon we ran together, me slightly ahead, but still reaching back behind me for the precious baton. When I felt the baton secure in my hand, I took full charge and ran my short segment of the race. Soon I saw the runner in front of me watching me run, hand outstretched for the baton. Seamless…we hoped.

I am sure you can see the correlation of the relay runners to generations, but what does the baton represent? One could make a case for many good things from family recipes and traditions to actual heirlooms or family stories. However, the thing I hold most dear, that I would pass to my children and to those of you readers who care to listen, is the wisdom of God, which was once passed to me.

Something else. As a relay runner, when I and the other girls on the team finished our part of the race we obviously stopped running, but then we became observers—fans! We’d scream, shout, and cheer our team on. In the same way, those who have passed me the baton are now watching how I run my segment of this race called life. I know my grandparents, my father, childhood friends, Sunday school teachers and so many more are rooting for me from heaven. In Hebrews 12, those folks are referred to as “a cloud of witnesses.”

“Therefore, since we have a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame and set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Heb 12:1-4)

I’m not in the stands yet, but certainly am beginning to understand of the “joy set before me” in watching those run to whom I’ve passed the baton of faith. In the New Year, I hope to have many batons of wisdom to pass your way…if you choose to receive them.

Happy New Year, Dear Readers.

©2010 Marianne Miles. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

*Copyrighted back columns are available for reading in archives of Comfort Cafe. Contact Marianne for reprint availability.

Marianne Miles is a free lance writer intent on bringing comfort to mom’s of special needs kids. As she and her husband raised their children, including a son with special needs, Marianne developed a passion to support hurting mothers. Her message revolves around the love and provision of God, even in times of trial. Marianne has worked as a volunteer in the public schools, home school mom, and a teacher in a private school. She writes on the subjects of family and education in the form of devotionals, magazine articles, and poetry. Marianne welcomes reader’s comments and publisher’s questions at Marianne_Miles@yahoo.com.