When I taught at Cincinnati Christian University, one of my responsibilities was to advise students. Advising usually takes the form of helping map out what courses to take to move toward the goal of graduation. Sometimes it spills over into other areas of life.
I had a student come to me unsure about finishing her degree and becoming a teacher. She had married and she wasn’t sure she could continue taking classes.
“I want to be a teacher,” she told me. “But if I can only take only a few classes at a time, it will take me forever to graduate.”
I remember turning to the blank side of her paper and drawing a mountain. I told her there are many ways up the mountain.
“Some people climb straight up,” I said as I drew a line leading straight to the top. “Others meander along the way and stop now and then.” I drew a line that wound its way back and forth finally reaching the summit. “The point is,” I told her, “the view is just as beautiful from the top no matter how long it takes you to get there.”
|Tom Hiking a Trail in the Grand Canyon|
These weren’t just words. I live that life. Tom and I married when I was a freshman and he a sophomore in college. We had dreams and goals. We both wanted to graduate. And we did. We took the scenic route, which included having children along the way…to our Bachelor degrees, our Master degrees and our Doctorates. Both of us.
But that ideology spills over into all areas of life. It’s the notion of starting a task and seeing it through to completion. It is a reminder that finishing a race is more important than winning it.
It surfaces in my faith walk and means I need to consistently read my Bible and be diligent in connecting with other believers. It is a matter of growing in faith one step at a time.
The same thought is in my writing life. I think it safe to say not one book has been published without being written. And there is great satisfaction in writing “The End.” Writing a book is a different kind of mountain and though many long for the view at the finish of the course, few see the work through to completion.
|Tom Finished the Climb and the View is Great!|
And this view is evident as I commit to finishing this life on earth without Tom by my side. I know I’ll get there one day and the view will be just as beautiful for me as it is for him now.
My former student finished her education degree. She has children of her own now. A few years ago she told me she still has that map of the mountain. She pulls it out from time-to-time to remind herself to stay the course.
Perhaps we should all post a trail map of the mountains we face each day on our wall. Every day we would wake up and get ready for the climb. And with each day we’d get a little closer to the top.