Harder days will come

Think it’s tough out there — breaking a sweat, chilled to the bone, dirt under the nails, dodging insults, hanging on for dear life as you dangle high above your comfy couch. Listen, friend, it’s only going to get tougher.

But seriously, no matter where you are in your journey, you’re most likely not at that place you’ll one day look back on and say something like, “That was the worst day of my life!” Might seem that way now, but chances are it’s bound to get worst. Will it? No one knows. But, let’s assume for a hot second that this moment is not the end all of bad moments; let’s set aside the doom and gloom thinking and imagine — stay with me — that there are days to come that will make this day look like a walk in the park. It could happen. This day could represent one of your better days. It could be the one you reflect on, while standing in a real poo of a day, and say, “Gosh, that day — back when — was just so great. Just so great.”

Why think like that? Why not? You might face today with so much contempt, so much anger, so much pain, and all for not. You might curse today — possibly the last best days you have — believing that it’s better to die today than to face tomorrow. You might think you know everything there is to know about today, hoping it will forever be forgotten. Or you might regret the moments you spent hating on today.

It’s the unknown. It’s all that you will discover, only once the moments has passed. So why not assume the best in this moment? What not assume that harder days will come, whether or not they will, because you don’t know — you can’t know — and celebrate today as a victory. It might a tough one, but it might be the best of what is to come.

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Climbing the molehill to reach the top of a mountain

Little steps… baby steps, like making your way across the shag carpet (assuming you were born in the late ’60s). That’s the pace that will often take you from where you are to where you long to be. You can see it — the other side of the room — but for reasons unknown you are enslaved to a mere one small step at a time. Frustrating? Your limitations are noted by those surrounding you who long to launch from their foundation and soar toward greater things.

But what about everyone who sees your efforts, yet cannot understand what drives you? What of the complacent and steady ones that are content small-stepping their way through life? Is their plight any less important? I say surely not. Even though some of us would hop onto a spacecraft for a chance to ride to the moon, the other, more calculated ones, are just as important to the mission of life. Details, hard steady work, heated debates, brain drain, risk taking, happenstance, and many other qualities are needed in order to achieve something great. It’s the collective partnership of many that leads to the singular discovery. No win-lose, instead, win-win when the people join together to create, build, conquer, overcome, and live in the moment.

Whether fast-stepping or slow-stepping, each step toward accomplishing something greater than yourself means being part of a team. Embrace your brothers and sisters, their strengths, their qualities, and live each step to the fullest as you change the world.

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Now, wait a second

Rushing in is most often a mistake. One must instead count the cost, weighing options and decisions, prior to making a grand and glorious entrance. I know this first hand — through rushing in — and more than once in my lifetime.

Still, there’s something to be said of pressing forward amidst resistance. If we all wait, calculating and determining the “safety” factor, then little will be accomplished in the long run. Sometimes it advantageous to break down the door and storm the castle — but only sometimes. Learning to read the situation on the fly can save headaches worth of embarrassment and backtracking. Therefore, I propose a list, a checklist, to precalculate and predetermine just how “safe” the castle-storming decision will be.

  1. Loss of life and/or limb. Risking your own life, limb, or well-being is a personal choice, but what of the life and limbs of others? Concern yourself with others.
  2. Financial pitfall. Every decision carries with it a bottom line — what will the choice to move, or stay, cost you in dollars and cents? Is the jump worth the fall after all?
  3. Tomorrow is around the corner. Time happens. What you feel at this moment, in this very moment, is already fleeting; what you do with this moment will decide your future.
  4. The big picture. You should have a mission statement, in life, and everything you do should fall inline with that mission statement. Going off script becomes an emotional choice that often carries a backpack of regret.

There you have it. Hold that impulse long enough to run through this trusty checklist and possibly save yourself years of financial, emotional, or physical therapy. And live a little.

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When I met you

There’s a golden moment in time that marks a major turning point in each of our lives. Be it a chance meeting, unexpected happening, planned endeavor, or any number of other possibilities, that moment will forever chance our lives. In what fashion, on what level, through what trial, we may never know, but rest assured that it will be the moment that brings an undeniable change.

Yet a single golden moment may not be all that lies waiting for you — could be that there are multiple events and moments that massage and bend your journey. And each one may add another layer of revelation along your path. Likened to the onion, only you aren’t peeling, you’re covering up, trumping the layer beneath. For to add another layer serves to remind you forever of the choices beneath. You will never forget that moment that changed you, once, and if, you actually discover that moment in time.

To live with fear, to wallow in anticipation, can be that very defining moment; therefore, embrace each day of living as if that time has already passed, and you are marching to that different drum which beats methodologically within you head and your heart. Want not for ownership, but strive to let go of the daily millstone. Lay hold of simple truths that ring loud in the absence of a noisy existence. Give where others take. Love where others fears. Empty yourself of the restless abandon and surrender to what is infinitely bigger than yourself.

And finally, when asked about that moment — whether you knew it or not — smile and share a piece of life’s beauty.

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Not to be determined

Life is ever evolving, ever moving, ever fading — the ebb and flow. Here today — gone tomorrow. Like a vapor. Hold on, right? It’s fast, and furious, and ready to leave you standing naked and alone.

Makes you want to lay it out like a timeline, plot each major point, measure each benchmark, re-evaluate at each junction. The idea that you might miss it makes you want to be sure you don’t. If you blink, Lord forbid, it’s gone. Crap.

Take a breath. Truly, if you were to ask Jesus, He would tell you, “Yes, just a vapor, but don’t let that get you down.” Although it’s a passing fancy, every day means something — to you, to others, to the Lord. Everyday holds beauty and treasure, so much more than you could imagine. What you do with your life — a vapor it may be — weighs into the everlasting. Your life matters. You matter.

Carpe Diem is less “seize” the day, and more “pluck” the day. The idea is to grab hold of the day at the right time, paying less attention to what lies in the future — the uncertain and unknown tomorrow. “Enjoy” the day might be a better translation still. And a reminder that nothing you think you understand can be determined anyway. Go, live.

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Trying to finish in order to start

Why is it that trying to start something new requires finishing everything else?  For me, the so easily distractable one, anything left that needs attending will pull my focus away from the new task I have chosen; thereby, creating the shotgun effect of trying to hit everything, but managing only to do a little damage in the wake of the blast.  What I really need is to not allow other things to remain undone, or not to start something new when I haven’t yet completed other tasks.  If I stick to that first item, complete it, then move on, I have managed to stay ahead of the “fall behind” game.

Maybe my real fault is that I’m bad at finishing.  If I could master the art of finishing what I started, maybe I wouldn’t be tempted to start something new ahead of myself.  Tackling one project after the other sounds like a better plan.  Then again, some projects hit dry spots, where things take time and I’d end up sitting around waiting, burning precious “do” time for other projects.  Of course, that gets me back into the “start-finish” cycle, even while supporting productivity.

See what plagues me?!  It’s a wonder I accomplish anything at all.

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Moving forward

Today I made a decision – a decision to leave the fear and doubt, voices of the past, echoing insecurity and loneliness.  Instead, I choose to believe that my life has more meaning and purpose than I have ever allowed myself to see.  Today I will stand, shaking off the garments weighed down with uncertainty and wrap myself in a garment saturated with faith.  For if I am ever going to be the man that God has been preparing me to be, then now is the time to be transformed by the utter and complete renewing of my mind.  To see things as the Lord gives me eyes to see, I must embrace a faith walk – a way so narrow, and often so dark, that the only light will come from knowing that He holds me straight and true.  It is a journey that will take me along difficult choices, relational challenges, and opportunities to jump ship and drown; however, I will hold fast to the truth that I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

Lord prepare me, for here I come.

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Finishing what you started

Off to bed after a long day of ‘finish work’.  You know, the stuff that keeps getting pushed aside during a project, that lingers in boxes months (or years) after you move, the last step in the process of completing whatever it is that you started when the thrill of tackling the project fueled you — yeah, that stuff.  I never do the finish work well.

Life is like that for me; well, not in everything (wink).  Coming to that place where the push to be finished runs out of fuel before I drive that last nail.  It’s the inside molding on the front door that went missing for nearly 18 months before I couldn’t stand the sight of it another minute.  It’s the sunroom that started as a weekend project and saw years pass before it was done.  It’s the laundry room sink I buy for Mother’s Day that becomes half a Christmas gift. Or how about the kitchen floor that produced a hole when the old baseboard heaters were removed and now is a targeted location for floor trash.  It’s anything that needs ‘one more thing’ done to it in order to feel truly accomplished.  It’s my story, because I never was a good closer.

I’ll continue to work on finishing what I start, but for now I’m finishing this post to prove it can be done.

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