February 21

Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the Lord. —Lamentations 3:40

Figure skater Michelle Kwan, elegant and graceful, was favored to win the gold medal in the women's figure skating competition at the 1998 Winter Olympics, but a little dynamo named Tara Lapinski exploded onto the ice in a brilliant performance that gave her the gold.

A TV reporter later asked Michelle, "How did it feel to lose the Olympics?"

Michelle looked at her in astonishment and said, "I didn't lose. I won the silver."

Way to go, Michelle! I thought, applauding her positive attitude.

Then I remembered something an elderly neighbor said to me long ago when, as a child, I cried over having lost a declamation contest that had been sponsored by our church. "Honey, you memorized your piece and you did your best. Just getting up there took a lot of nerve, but you tried your hardest and that makes you a winner even if you didn't get a ribbon. The real losers in this world are the ones who don't even try."

My neighbor's wise words have inspired me ever since to try to do my best in whatever I attempt and to respect an honest effortfrom myself or anyone else—even if that effort doesn't include a prize.

Lord, please give me the words today to encourage someone who is facing a challenge. Amen.

Madge Harrah