“A lot of time and effort was spent getting to the finish line. It was only when the line was crossed that I was able to make out the next line in the distance.” ~ Unknown
Life seems to be all about crossing the finish line. We want, of course, to be the first person to cross but will settle, at least, to have succeeded and crossed the line at any point. That “line” might be graduation from grade school, high school, college, or graduate school. It might be a promotion at work. It might be achieving a certain honor. Whatever it is, we have some kind of finish line in mind.
When we finally cross the line, we look back at all the hard work that went into the accomplishment. We generally look ahead as well and ask, “What’s next?” Sure enough, there is another finish line ahead of us that we need to cross. There is another task, another accomplishment, another goal that needs to be reached.
I look back at all my lines through life. I felt like I had really accomplished something when I graduated high school. That feeling only lasted a short time when I realized that college graduation was the new goal. After college, the goal became ordination to the priesthood. Each assignment after ordination became a new finish line. What would it be like to be a high school teacher, a chaplain at an orphanage, a chaplain at a maximum security prison, or a pastor at a few parishes?
In our spiritual lives, we experience the same thing. Our earlier faith goals may have been as simple as learning our prayers. Later, we become challenged to live our faith by forgiving the person we may not want to forgive or loving the person we believe to be unlovable. When we cross that finish line, we continue to focus on the ultimate finish line that we will encounter when we leave this life and enter eternal life. That is the prize for which we should all long.
Life can feel that way. We can put all of our energy into something only to find other somethings awaiting us. That is the great challenge and, I might add, the great joy of life. When we feel frustrated, we should look at all that we have accomplished thus far and take heart in the fact that we were able to attain our goals. Knowing that should bolster us to continue doing what it is we need to do.
God does not challenge us to do anything on our own. God has always promised to remain with His people. We need to hold on to that promise and face, boldly, the future that awaits us. Hand to the plow, we move on with our lives.
FAITH ACTION: Ask God for the grace to continue working on your spiritual goals so that you may reach the ultimate finish line of life with Him.