• 43°

Pass the baton

By QuaWanna Bannarbie

I am a track mom. Before this year, I was just a huge fan of Allyson Felix and enjoyed watching match-ups between the USA Olympic team against Jamaica since we have a bit of a rivalry in my home — I married a Jamaican.

This is our daughter’s first year running track with the AAU team, Phranchize Phamilee Sports. I always support my children’s extracurricular activities. We have done talent shows, basketball, soccer, dance and choir. They are active children, and I love it. But if I can be honest, I am really enjoying being a track mom.

A few weeks back, I was standing in the bleachers in High Point, N.C., waiting for the start of the 4×100 relay. Our daughter was running the anchor leg. The announcer informed the audience that the race was about to begin. Then she asked each handoff zone manager to indicate whether they were ready by giving a signal. When she had received a satisfactory response from each zone, she announced “All Ready.”

There is a distinct difference between “already” and “all ready.” They are nearly homophones. but one is a two-word phrase while the other is not. The word “already” functions as an adverb that describes the function of a specific time or action. It indicates a point from the past. The other word describes being “collectively prepared,” or preparation that is complete, as in the launch of a system or the readiness of a team.

While they both have different meanings, either one could describe status. For example, when I ask my children if their room is clean, I often get the response “I finished already.” My youngest child particularly loves this statement. But when I come to inspect his and his brother’s room, they are not at all ready for their mother’s inspection. Just because we have done some things already doesn’t mean that we are completely ready.

Readiness means that preparation has taken place in the past and been rehearsed repeatedly.

A track team doesn’t just walk on the track expecting to take home the first-place prize if they have not run the race and rehearsed the relay handoff. The race of life is somewhat the same. Bucket lists have us thinking that to check off some things once means that we have arrived and we are successful. The Bible tell us to “be dressed in readiness, and keep your lamps lit.” (Luke 12:35). This scripture reminds us to always serve.

Every time you serve someone or some cause, you are rehearsing the relay handoff. In relay races, the timing and perfection of that handoff can be the difference between a win and a loss. When you continue to serve the will of our Heavenly Father, that can be the difference between a soul won for the kingdom of heaven or a soul lost. Our lives are not about our personal wins but about our collective preparation. We have opportunities every single day to pass the baton. Everyone serves a purpose. Practicing service reveals our purpose. Our individual purpose is connected to God’s ultimate purpose to reconcile us to Himself. One day, we shall all be home with the gold baton and have no more races to run.

QuaWanna Bannarbie is an adjunct professor of nonprofit leadership and management with Indiana Wesleyan University, National and Global. Her children attend Suffolk Public Schools. Connect with her via Twitter @QNikki_Notes.