Here's a personal story.
Someone I am close to ran for office the other day and lost in an extremely close race: one-half of one percent difference in votes between winner and loser.
I have been on both the inside and the outside of the winner's circle in the past at different times.
Losing an election is often tough, even emotional at times.
In any case, I received an e-mail from the losing candidate that put life into perspective.
Here is an excerpt from that e-mail.
I awoke early after a restless sleep, tossing and turning all night, trying not to think about what I might have done differently. I walked into my kitchen feeling a little sorry for myself.
I kept thinking that after all the time, money, and effort spent on my campaign, hadn't I earned the victory?
As I reached for the coffee, Razzy came trotting in, same as always. She stretched and padded over to the refrigerator and waited for the small piece of cheese she's come to expect each day. She wagged her tail in great expectation.
She could not have cared less that I was not going to be elected. Her love, attitude and expectations were unaffected by my disappointment. I began to be jealous of my dog!
God's love for us is pure, constant, and eternal. His divine providence is not dependent on our failure or success. He is the same every morning, and He is good all the time!
We all face disappointments in life, yet God remains faithful! Faith is always easier on the mountain top, but it is in the valley where we learn the important lessons!
In this age of emphasizing the importance of winning, this candidate reached some pretty important conclusions about life, God, and keeping your priorities straight.
It's easy to admire the winners.
Sometimes the losers have something important to say.
At a handicap Olympics a few years ago, one boy shot to the front of the footrace while another fell to the ground only a few yards into the race.
The lad about to break the tape at the finish line stopped dead in his tracks.
The crowd shouted "You're a winner, Jimmy, you're a winner!"
Jimmy didn't win.
Instead he looked back at his fallen comrade and shouted "you're a winner, too, Frank!"
He then came back to Frank and helped him limp to the finish line, both tied for last place.
Victory is the frequent calling card of the Yankees, the Steelers, and Southeastern football teams.
We bask in the warm light of superiority as Americans who are used to winning and being number one.
There is nothing wrong with striving for excellence and realizing our loftiest ambitions.
Let's just not lose sight of the fact that despite Vince Lombardi's coaching mantra, winning isn't everything.
Nobility, virtue, and faith can be found outside the spotlight and in the shadows where the losers wistfully observe the celebration at home plate.
Are your priorities in order?
St. Peter doesn't give one dog-gone about your promotion or your new Lexus or your high school state Championship or your stunning electoral victory.
He wants to know how you treated people and whether you kept God's goals high up on your list with your own.
Razzy and God love you for who you are. Not for what you've done.
So give the Razzy in your life a little chunk of cheddar and give God the chance to see the kindness and faith that you give to others.
Win or lose.