HOW MANY FRIENDS HAVE YOU?
The old man turned to me and asked, "How many friends have you?"
Why ten or twenty friends have I, and named off just a few.
He rose quite slow with effort, and sadly shook his head,
A lucky child are you, to have so many friends, he said.
But think of what your saying, there is so much you do not know,
A friend is not just someone, to whom you simply say "hello".
A friend's a tender shoulder, on which to softly cry,
A well to pour your troubles down, and raise your spirits high.
A friend's a hand to pull you up, from darkness and despair,
When all your other "so-called friends", have helped to put you there.
A true friend is an ally, who can't be moved or bought,
A voice to keep your name alive, when others have forgot.
But most of all a friend's a heart, a strong and sturdy wall,
For from the hearts of friends there comes, the greatest love of all!!!
So think of what I've spoken, for every word is true,
And answer once again my child, How many friends have you?
And then he stood and faced me, awaiting my reply,
Soft and sad I answered, "If lucky, ONE have I".
Quit, Give up! You're beaten! They shout at me and plead.
There's just too much against you now, this time you can't succeed.
And as I start to hang my head in front of failure's face,
My downward fall is broken by the memory of a race.
And hope fills my weakened will, as I recall that scene
For just the thought of that short race rejuvenates my being.
A children's race -- young boys, young girls.
How I remember so well.
They all lined up so full of hope; each thought to win that race,
Or tie for first, or if not that, at least tie for second place.
And every parent watched, cheering for their daughters and their sons,
And every kid hoped to show their mom and dad, that they would be the one.
The whistle blew and off they went, young hearts and hopes afire.
To win and be the hero was each kid's desire.
And one boy in particular whose dad was in the crowd,
Was running near the lead and thought, my dad will be so proud.
But as they speeded down the field, across a shallow dip,
The little boy who thought to win, lost his step and slipped.
And trying hard to catch himself, his hands flew out to brace,
Mid the laughter of the crowd he fell right upon his face.
So down he fell and with him hope, he couldn't win it now,
Embarrassed, sad, if he could only disappear somehow.
But as he fell his dad stood up and showed his anxious face,
Which to the boy so clearly said, "Get up and win the race."
He quickly rose, no damage done, behind a bit, that's all,
And ran with all his mind and might to make up for his fall.
So anxious to restore himself -- to catch up and to win,
His mind went faster than his legs -- and he slipped and fell again.
He wished that he had quit before with only one disgrace,
"Im hopeless as a runner now, I shouldn't try to race."
But in the laughing crowd, he searched and found his father's face,
That steady look which said again, "Get up and win the race."
So up he jumped to try again, ten yards behind the last.
"If I'm going to gain those yards," he thought, "I've got to move real fast."
Exerting everything he had, he regained eight or ten,
But trying so hard to catch the lead he slipped and fell again.
Defeat! He lay there silently, a tear dropped from his eye.
"There's no sense running any more. Three strikes, I'm out. Why should I even try?
The will to rise had disappeared, all hope had fled away.
So far behind, so error prone, a loser all the way.
"I've lost, so what's the use?" he thought, "I'll live with my disgrace."
But then he thought about his dad whom soon he'd have to face.
Get up, an echo sounded, get up and take your place.
You were not meant for failure here, Get up and win the race.
With borrowed will, Get up, it said, You haven't lost at all.
For winning is no more than this: To rise each time you fall.
So up he rose to run once more, and with a new commit,
He resolved that win or lose at least he wouldn't quit.
So far behind the others now, the most he'd ever been.
Still he gave it all he had and ran as though to win.
Three times he'd fallen, stumbling: Three time he rose again.
Too far behind to hope to win, he still ran his best to the end.
They cheered the winning runner as she crossed the line in first place.
Head high and proud, and happy, no falling, no disgrace
But when the fallen youngster crossed the line in last place,
The crowd gave him the greatest cheer for just finishing the race.
And even though he came in last with head bowed low, unproud,
You would have thought he'd won the race to listen to the crowd.
And to his dad he sadly said, "I didn't do so well."
"To me, you won," his father said, "You rose each time you fell."
And now when things seem dark and hard and difficult to face,
The memory of that little boy should help us all in our race.
For life is like that race with ups and down and all,
And all you have to do to win, is rise each time you fall.
"Quit, give up, you're beaten," they will always shout in your face.
But another voice within you will say, "Get up and win the race."