In a Jewish book I'm reading, written by the wife of a great rabbi, I came across the following story which illustrates the essence of Christianity, or Judaism, or even that of any spiritual system that values human life:
Some years ago, I read a brief news item in The New York Times about an Olympics for Special Children in Seattle, Washington. It was a small blurb, innocuously placed, an I would probably have missed it had my daughter not pointed it out to me. The story was about disabled children who competed in a race. When the whistle sounded, they started to run. Suddenly, one of the young boys fell, skinned his knee, and began to cry. When the others heard his cry, they stopped in their tracks, turned around, and went to his aid. One little girl, who had Down Syndrome, bent down, kissed his knee and said, "here, this will make it feel better." The children helped the boy to his feet, linked hands, and ever so slowly, they all walked as one to the finish line.**Jungries, Esther. Life Is A Test. Brooklyn: Shaar Press, 2006. 15
Why is this the essence of Christianity or Judaism? Or any other religious systems that place a high value on human life? Because it shows that "winning" is a hollow achievement, if we ignore the pain and suffering that surround each and everyone of us. An excellent example of this is the recent Pixar movie Cars, where a bright red young NASCAR stock car, "Lightning McQueen," learns the same sort of lesson.
It's not what you achieve, it's who you help that counts.
P.S. According to my research, the event told by Jungries actually happened in Spokane, not Seattle, and only one or two athletes helped the guy who fell, not everyone. (source: http://www.snopes.com/glurge/special.htm) However, even if it were only one person who helped the fallen athlete, the point is still valid.
P.S.S. Cool video Clip of Rascal Flat's performing "Life is a Highway" as featured in the movie "Cars" here.