(A story by Anna Hayward, read at the Family Day service October 16.)Harvest table 16

Debbie was so excited. This week the Harvest Fair was in town again. All the wonderful rides to go on, and her chance to win again. Debbie was good at running and every year she ran in the race at the fair and every year she won her race...no one could beat her!

Every year, all the money from the racing went to people who were poor...who didn’t have much food, or had nowhere to live, but Debbie didn’t think about that...she just liked to win. She didn’t even need to practise running like some people did.

As she thought this, she was looking out of her bedroom window, staring at the playing field nearby. It was raining and a bit cold, but there was one young girl she didn’t recognise out on the field running. ‘Silly thing’, thought Debbie. ‘I’m going to win’, so she needn’t bother. As she watched, the girl tripped and almost fell, and Debbie laughed out loud. ‘See, she doesn’t stand a chance against me...she can’t even stay on two feet!’

The day before the races Debbie woke up very happy and eager to go, but something was wrong...her head felt all tight and muzzy and she kept sneezing. Horror of horrors...she had caught a cold. ‘I won’t be at my best’ cried Debbie, ‘I might lose...this is awful!’

Debbie’s mum thought she was making a fuss, ‘Come on Debbie, do it for all the people who need our help’, said her mum, ‘We have so much to be thankful for’. ‘I’m not thankful’, cried Debbie, ‘Why do I have this awful cold right now...why now? It’s not fair!’

Later that day, Debbie stood near the starting line for her race feeling grumpy as well as tired. All she could think of was losing and how awful that would be. She looked along to the end of the line near the fence and saw the girl who she had seen practising on the field. Debbie scowled at her. Then she noticed something strange...the girl had her eyes closed. Debbie pushed down the line until she was next to the girl and said, ‘Why have you got your eyes closed? Are you praying you’ll win?’ ‘No’, said the girl, I’m blind.

Debbie was shocked, but just at that moment the whistle went for them to line up ready to run. ‘How can she run when she can’t see?’ Debbie thought. ‘Ready, steady, go!’ cried the umpire, and then they were racing. Debbie found her sneezes didn’t stop her, she was so determined to win and raced ahead of everyone. Then suddenly the blind girl tripped over something in the grass and fell down. Debbie could hear her cry out, and at that moment something inside Debbie changed. (What do you think Debbie did next?) ......Even though she was winning Debbie actually stopped and ran back! She helped the blind girl up and holding her hand she ran with her down the track to the finish.

They ran over the line together, and Debbie didn’t let go of the blind girl’s hand even then. They came last in the race, but now it didn’t matter at all. What mattered was the wonderful feeling Debbie had of helping someone else and seeing the happy smile on the blind girl’s face. The girl said, ‘Oh thank you so much. My name is Heidi and I’ve always wanted to run like that’. Debbie smiled too, even though she knew Heidi couldn’t see, and said, ‘No, no, thank you Heidi. You’ve helped me discover a wonderful thing. I have so much to be thankful for’.

Now, what do you have to be thankful for?