This I Believe

Karyn - Blue Springs, Missouri
Entered on June 29, 2007

There is No Finish Line

Time. I’ve wasted it, cherished it, despised it, envied it, celebrated it, and still it saunters along indifferent to my fickle consumption of it. Its apathetic nature has inspired an awakening in my 38-year-old soul.

I scratch my head in bewilderment as I realize I can now cut my life into slices of decades. How and when exactly did that happen? Time marches forward. This is the nature of the game, but this is also the privilege of being alive.

My epiphany comes with the understanding that while Time shrugs its shoulders at me, I have a moral obligation to embrace it back. Time is a temporary gift that gives little warning before the final bell rings: cancer knocks, car wheels screech, waters rise, fires rage, and towers fall. Every breath is sacred.

I am loaned one mind, one body, and one spirit. I say loaned because on the Universal Clock my existence is not more than one glowing flicker from a lightening bug. My Creator has given me this ephemeral moment and I am humbled to acknowledge this passing gift.

There have been moments in my life when I have been stripped down to the essence of my being; tangled in a web of self-doubt and self-pity. These personal devastations, as well as the victories are the heart of the human experience. I welcome them both. I am now aware that the most exquisite blessings arise like a Phoenix from the ashes of broken dreams or tragedy. I notice that when I focus on the darkness, I find darkness; but when I shift my gaze- there is light, dazzling Light. It is always my choice which to embrace. Time doesn’t blink twice at my decision; it is steadfast in its journey forward.

I saw a t-shirt recently that read, “There is No Finish Line.” This resonated with me and I reflected on two women that I know. Robin is a woman in her 50’s living with Multiple Sclerosis since she was 21. She’s legally blind, 80% deaf and has difficulty with balance and walking most days. Life’s burdens have been many, but a self-pitied word never passes her lips. I’ve witnessed her care for the blistered, swollen feet of Event Walkers for twelve hours straight with a gentle touch, quick wit, and a caring smile. Her focus is always on the needs and comfort of others. There is no finish line.

Judy is a 73-year-old retired schoolteacher. She is quick with a hug or an encouraging word. She volunteers at the local nature center and is committed to spreading her knowledge and love for the great outdoors. She hikes, explores caves, and scuba dives (a hobby she took up when she was 70.) She exemplifies the concept of a life-long-learner. There is no finish line.

In the absence of a finish line, there isn’t an excuse to quit moving forward, to quit learning, to quit caring, or to quit loving. There is never a moment to say, “I’m done.” I am here for only one small breath from the Creator. I want to use my mind to create, reflect, and consider new possibilities; I want to use my body to labor for the needs of earth and man; I want to use my spirit to spread love, kindness, hope and compassion. When my final grain of sand drops through the hourglass, whether tomorrow or sixty years from now, I want to know I gave life everything that I could squeeze out of myself, and then a teaspoonful more. This I believe.