Tuesday, February 21, 2023

One Mile at a Time

 One Mile at a Time


I know some people who believe empowerment comes through mastering a second language or learning karate. I’ve known people who think manipulating people or skirting the law is empowering. Seriously. 


Sometimes, real power comes from facing down fear or learning how to overcome obstacles. Real power comes from facing a daunting task head on…and conquering it.  

I recently witnessed this force in action. 


My mother and I decided to spend the month of February in Florida. When we announced we were leaving the cold weather of Ohio for a bit of sunshine, my twenty-year-old grandson, Joshua, decided he would like to come for a visit. His college classes are online this term and his work schedule is somewhat flexible. 


Driving the nine hundred plus miles from Ohio to our home in the Sunshine State would be his first road trip of great distance. We all had confidence in his driving skill and if he needed, arrangements could be made for an overnight stay along the way. Still, he had never driven further than a fifty-mile radius from home. Alone, that is.

We all followed his journey...one mile at a time.


I know many people who shy away from such a challenge. It seems daunting. They fear the unknown. They become plagued with the “what ifs.”


We’ve likely all had those moments. I know I have.


To advance to candidacy status in my doctoral degree, I had to pass a qualifying exam. The exam consisted of three questions. I would be allotted six hours to answer the first question. The second question was offered the next day and was a four-hour question. The final question was offered on the third day. It too, was a four-hour question. These obviously were not short answer questions. Furthermore, I had to defend my answers to my committee the following week.


How do you prepare for such an exam? 

Study? I’d been doing that throughout my course of study. 

Pray? Okay, yes, I did pray. A lot.

Eventually, what I found most helpful was a trip to King’s Island, a local amusement park.


You see, I was deathly afraid of roller coasters. I was able to avoid them as long as at least one of my daughters didn’t meet the height requirement and I had to stay on the sidelines with that one and watch.  But the year I was to take the three-question, three-day qualifying exam in July, my youngest "shield" reached the magic height and could ride every roller coaster in the park.


I drew in my breath, mustered my courage and by the end of the day I had successfully conquered every coaster in King’s Island. It was a blast. Moreover, conquering that fear allowed me to conquer my fear of the upcoming exam.


I took on the challenge of King’s Island one coaster at a time.

I studied and prepared for each question “one coaster” at a time. 


I know Joshua will draw on his solo trek to Florida for years to come. It’s one of those, “If I can do that, I can do anything” moments.


A challenging assignment in school? One mile at a time.

Balancing school and work? One mile at a time.

A tough assignment in his job? One mile at a time.

Necessary travel for work? One mile at a time.

Any of the life challenges he faces, Joshua will be able to face each “One mile at a time.” 


Life is, after all, a journey.

What experience do you still hold to for energy an strength? I'd love to hear your story...















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