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High blood

Life is a relay

As I ponder on my 68 years of existence, I’ve come to the conclusion that the world is just like one big oval stadium. Some people are running, some are getting ready to run, and some are sitting on the bleachers cheering and clapping.

And we are on the tracks right now, running the relay of life.

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Yes, life is a relay. You run, and at the end of your distance, you pass the baton to your children and then your children to their children, and so on for new generations to come.

Some run very fast, never looking at their surroundings, never hearing the cheers; all they have in mind is to reach the finish line.

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Some seem to be taking their time walking, smiling at the cheerers and enjoying their run, never minding the distance.

Some stumble and fall, while others get up and run again. Others just quit the run altogether.

My run. I may have run through life very fast and stumbled so many times, but, despite the bruises and the scars of life, I got up and ran again. I did not quit.

Life’s relay is done on tracks that are littered with obstacles, with everyone obliged to run and jump over the hurdles. No one really knows the reason, but some tracks have few of any hurdles and others have many; some are hard to tackle and some are easy. That’s the way it is.

Reflection. There were a number of times that it seemed I was running half-blind.

But I can almost see my finish line now. My children are alongside me, ready to receive the family’s baton, giving me support and encouragement to run the few more miles to the finish line.

Tired and weary I may be, but I am glad that my children are with me. They encourage me with words like: “You can do it, mom”; “You still have your brains, mom.”

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Yes, indeed, I still have my brains. My bones may be aching and my skin sagging, but my mind is still healthy and fit to run.

I will let my mind do the running then. But this time, I will make sure it will be a beautiful run, a dilly-dallying run full of laughter and gratitude.

A run with time to pause and smell the flowers, dance with the wind, bask in the warmth of the sun, enjoy the tingling sensation of the raindrops… And when the night comes, I will take time to look at the sky and see the twinkling stars and enjoy the soothing moonlight.

Ah, so many things to thank God for — not only for family, friends, neighbors and relatives, but also for the sun, the moon, the wind, the water, the earth and everything else that grows on it.

I was so engrossed with my run all these years that I had not fully savored the goodness of God’s creations. I am glad I still have that chance.

When my run ends — or when I cannot run anymore, when even my mind begins to falter, stumble and get lost at last, when I start to forget things and events — I will then pass the baton to the next of my generation, and sit in the bleachers and watch them run.

What a view it would be to see my reflection in the generation that comes after me. Only through their run will I know if, indeed, I had run a good run. I hope that they, too, will see and enjoy the beauty of the stadium and run the relay with fun.

And I hope I will have fun sitting in the bleachers, too, to cheer and to clap for my runners when they do something laudable, and to bow my head in prayer when they fall.

Maybe, if I am lucky, I will be munching on popcorn and drinking coffee that my runners paid for.

But before I pass the baton, I would like to tell my children this: Life is a series of obstacles where everyone has to run and jump the hurdles. Along the way, some would trip and fall. If you do, no matter how painful it is, you have to get up, run again, and do your share in the evolution of life.

And when someone trips and falls, stop and extend a helping hand. It does not matter if you don’t get to the finish line first. There is, in fact, no finish line; life’s relay has no ending. The only thing that matters is that you finish your run.

* * *

Consolacion “Neng” Zaldivar, 68, is a retired Makati employee now living in Davao City. She has three kids and six grandchildren.

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