Tuesday, September 25, 2012

There Is No Finish Line

Jed has a T-shirt that reads, "There Is No Finish Line."  I like the thoughts that wander through my head when he wears it. 

We spend our whole lives racing toward something.  Graduating, marrying, raising children, planning trips, making money...as if it were a necessity, a competition.  Getting, getting, getting.  Doing, doing, doing.  It all seems to make sense.  We're all programed to get to a certain place, a level, a line....

But there is no finish line.  Not now, not ever. 

When Jed fell we were deeply involved in the race.  We were about to cross the "finish line,"  where life would be comfortable and good.  But he fell and the race stopped for us.  The past 3 1/2 years we've begun to realize there is no finish line at all. 

When I was a young adult,  full of dreams and very little else, I met a very sad gentleman who walked slowly, with his head hung in lost hope.  Brief encounters made me aware that he'd lost the love of his life and he was without purpose.  This man had planned his retirement with his wife.  They would travel and live the life they dreamed.  She died, and he had no more dreams. 

I met him briefly 40 years ago, but his sadness can still bring chill to my soul. I never even knew his name, but his slow, sad, grief walk brings me near to reality even today. 

When Jed fell, life was over.  Grief was the frequent guest.  People assisted us.  People brought us food and visited.  I sat back and let them help us, with little aknowledgement that all things pass.  Now, years later, I look back and see faces who lovingly brought food, who brought joy to our greif ridden lives.  Some of those people are dead.  Some of those people are dying.  Some of those people have disappeared. 

There's no finish line.  There's just time for stuff; singing, laughing, birthing,  grieving, dying, dancing, planning with abandon. 

We're just suppose to do the best we can, be the best we can, in the midst of who we are.  We're not running a race, we're living a life.  And, because we believe that God has a greater plan for us after we die, "There Is No Finish Line" has an eternal meaning for us. 

So, when you see Jed zipping around in his wheelchair wearing his, "No Finish Line" shirt, smile at him and know that even in the midst of all the stuff we didn't want to happen to us, we can see hope and light and laughter and joy.  Even though most of the dreams we dreamed and the stuff we thought most valuable are gone, they've been replaced with remarkable challenges and amazing people.  The fall didn't finish us. 

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