Saturday, I completed a half marathon.
Those are words I never thought I'd type. In fact, right up through that last tenth of a mile it was iffy. I've never been that close to a finish and wondered if I would make it. But, I did and I have the t-shirt to prove it. It felt so good to cross that line. Even as my muscles ached, my stomach churned, and I discovered the ugliest big-toe blister ever, I had no regrets.
Well, today I reached another milestone. I typed The End on my third manuscript! It still needs to be rewritten, but its there. All 82,000 words of it. I don't have a t-shirt, or an ugly blister as a result, but I do have that same deep and vast sense of, "Yes!"
I've never been one to put "Life is the journey, not the destination," on my bumper. I love finishing. Yet while the process of writing is more fun than the process of running, both of these endeavors were actually fun. Yes, for real. I loved watching the story form and grow and flourish in ways I hadn't anticipated. And I loved--well, liked--plodding past the Parthenon, Music Row, and Belmont University in Nashville.
Which made me wonder if I should revamp my philosophy and start setting paths instead of goals.
Mmm, not gonna happen. As healthy as that might be, its just not me. I am learning though, through these long, slow, goals to enjoy both. I can take in the scenery without forgetting the finish line. I can delve into the possibility of story without letting it take me by the hand and lead me on a dozen rabbit trails that lead to a half-finished manuscript.
All this goal pondering reminded me of the Apostle Paul's analogy in 2 Tim. 4:7, namely, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." He was a finish line person too.
This life is glorious and is a gift. It is a chance to see and experience and love and learn. To sing with Cambodians, to hike in Thailand, to dine in Italy, to drink coffee and talk Jesus with Guatemalans, to hug Kenyan children and see wild elephants, to build friendships and familyships, to read, to laugh, to write, to run.
And yet, this is the race. Just, the race. The finish line is out there and the best part of existence lies beyond. How cool is that?
Thank you, Lord, for these goals and the persistence you are intent on teaching me. Thank you for this story and for the characters I'm half in love with. Thank you for getting me through 13.1 miles, and for a running buddy to do it with. Thank you for the glorious event this life is, and even more for the wondrous promise of so much more beyond, including you! Please let me never lose sight of either. All my love.