I grew up in New Hampshire, only about 45 minutes or so from Loudon, the location of New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Of course, way back in those days, it was known as Bryar Motorsports Park, and the Bryar family attended our church. I even had a crush on Mr. Bryar’s son who was his namesake, but I was not a race fan at that time.
THEN, in 2002, as a divorced middle-aged woman, I met David Banks through online dating. Things went well for us, I moved to Maine (where he has always lived), and we married in 2006. Dave has been a racing fan most of his life and I became one after getting together with him; we went to my first NASCAR race back in NH in September 2012. It was thrilling!!
Now, this weekend every year has a full schedule of racing, including a few different racing divisions, from F1 Grand Prix racing in Monaco, to IndyCar racing at the Indianapolis 500, to NASCAR night racing with 600 miles at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The NASCAR pre-race activities will also include honoring our military members; in addition, each driver has a deceased military member’s name on the car, to honor their memory and service.
These are some of the aspects of NASCAR that really impress me–they honor our military, they have someone sing the national anthem and pray before every race, and they are very family-oriented. The drivers have never had a strike to complain about contracts or wages. In fact, many of the biggest names in the sport sponsor charities, donate large amounts of money, and even give away their winnings at times to charitable causes or to help during times of disaster or tragedy. It seems many of them have learned to extend kindness and compassion to those in need.
In fact, the NASCAR organization as a whole puts a lot of emphasis on taking care of everyone within their circle, including drivers, crews, families, friends, fans, and all those associated with the sport. This was highlighted again recently with the NASCAR community’s tribute last month (April 2015) to long-time FOX sports broadcaster Steve Byrnes, who passed away only two days later after losing his battle with cancer.
Discussing these these things reminded me of this blog post I wanted to share today, an older one from one of my other blogs, on the topics of kindness, compassion, and our circles of friends.
What an important concept this is not only for the sake of friendship and socialization, but also for networking and professional growth.
“I believe we need to have what I call ‘divine connections.’ In other words, pray about your circle of friends. Don’t just decide what social group you want to be part of and then try to get into it.
Instead, follow the leading of the Holy Spirit in choosing with whom you want to associate closely.
Pray: Lord, I ask You to bring the right friends into my life. Give me wisdom to know whom to welcome into my circle of friends. Amen.”
–Joyce Meyer in “The Confident Woman Devotional”
As a person who works from home and doesn’t get out much, it can get lonely at times, since my immediate family (daughters, son, sons-in-law, daughter-in-law, granddaughters, sisters and their families, and brother) and the majority of my long-time friends, all live out of state (since I moved from New Hampshire to Maine about 12 years ago).
That’s why I’m thankful for the “circles of friends” God has drawn me to, in my various online communities, on Facebook and elsewhere. I appreciate the friendship, networking, sharing of personal and professional interests, and genuine support and compassion demonstrated by most members of these different circles of friends.
How about you?
Do you enjoy some specific circles of friends who contribute to your personal and professional growth?