The great baseball player/philosopher, Satchel Paige once said, “Don’t look back, something might be gaining on you.” When I first heard this as a kid, it sounded amusing, although I didn’t quite know why. Now that I’m almost 62, I know exactly why: Satchel was wise enough to understand that what’s gaining on us is Death. Some might not find that too amusing, but what are you going to do? Cry? That’s a waste of the time, which is fast running out. Some of us, like those say, at or north of 62 are running out of it faster than those who are say, 32. Although, young friends take note—the rate at which Death is closing the gap is the same for all ages.
Don’t look back because you’ll discover that Death has the inside track. Furthermore, it’s important to understand that He abides by no rules in this race. He’ll drop colds, flus, pneumonia, arthritis, bursitis, meningitis, toothaches, headaches, back aches, illness, sadness, depression, loss, loneliness, and a thousand other obstacles in your lane. For agitating good measure, He might throw more obstacles in your lane than in someone else’s lane.
Doesn’t matter. Don’t look back.
Cross it with curiosity, with a smile, with a hearty laugh.
My license plate holder says, “If I die dancing, I’ll die happy. It’ll suck for my partner though.” Drag me to the corner and keep dancing, partner. You have to.
Yes, Death is going to win sooner or later, but sooner or later, when Death breaks the tape just ahead of me, I want Him to shake my hand and say, “I had to work to catch you!” I’ll laugh and say, “I gave you a good run for your money!” He’ll respect that, and laugh, too.
It really is a friendly competition. After all, Death is just doing His job—we’re only allowed so many laps on this track.
No, we’re not going to finish first in this race, but then that’s not how our success is gauged. It’s how well we compete. How well did we surmount the obstacles in our lanes? Did we help other runners overcome their obstacles? Did we keep looking ahead?
Don’t look back: Something is gaining on us, and that’s okay, because we really haven’t been racing against Death at all. We’ve been running with Life.