Kick It … or not

I remember, the year was 1987, and I was all too familiar with the hard pack of horseshoe beach that outlined three sides of the bay. I was a 23-year-old testosterone pumping machine. A perfect specimen for Dive School and my instructor’s job was to break the machine.

I ran that horseshoe six times prior, but on this Friday I was NOT feeling it. My fellow students did not care I had a hard week, they had their own concerns, and we all just cared about graduating. On that Friday morning, it was the same drill, run the three-mile horseshoe and then run back. We had a time of 45 minutes with the grace of 3 minutes. If you finished at 48:0001, you just kept running to the Dunes (obstacle course) because that is where you spent the rest of the day.

I figured I would take it easy and then kick it in at the pivot. Have you ever seen those Navy recruits in those Youtube videos running on the beach? One thing you’ll notice is no one wears a watch except the instructors and they don’t care if you finish in time. In fact, their job is to determine who wants to finish and move to the next level.

Long story short … I didn’t kick it. To this day, 35 years later, the lesson I learned that morning in February is always present: Kick It … or not

It’s not the Start but the Finish that Matters

This brings us to my favorite verse. The words are strong, of course, but it is the backstory that makes this verse strong for me. The Apostle Paul is writing to his protege Timothy, a young preacher, from a Roman prison shortly before his martyrdom.

Paul, seeing the end of his life drawing close, evaluates it from the perspective of his faithfulness to his task. It is always wise at every stage in life to look and prayerfully ask if you are fighting the good fight and running a good race. Paul sees the life of faith as a distance run with a clear path, and a clear finish line. Knowing what his goal was, he could confidently say that he had completed it. It reminds me of a John Cougar lyric. Imagine that, the Apostle Paul and John Cougar would be used in the same sentence.

The lyric is from the Scarecrow album in 1985, the song is Minutes to Memories:

The old man kept talking ’bout his life and his times
He fell asleep with his head against the window
He said an honest man’s pillow is his peace of mind

On a Greyhound thirty miles beyond Jamestown
He saw the sun set on the Tennessee line
He looked at the young man who was riding beside him
He said I’m old kind of worn out inside
I worked my whole life in the steel mills of Gary
And my father before me I helped build this land
Now I’m seventy-seven and with God as my witness
I earned every dollar that passed through my hands
My family and friends are the best things I’ve known
Through the eye of the needle I’ll carry them home
Days turn to minutes and minutes to memories
Life sweeps away the dreams that we have planned
You are young and you are the future
So suck it up and tough it out and be the best you can

The old man kept talking ’bout his life and his times
He fell asleep with his head against the window
He said an honest man’s pillow is his peace of mind.

My message to you. If you’re still in the race, Don’t Worry about what is behind you, focus on what is ahead of you.

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