Crossing the finish line is undeniably cliché, quite general, and maybe even a bit indirect or obscure; but, my intent was to use a time worn metaphor to suggest keeping my focus on a goal. In this case the metaphor might be applied to several milestones.
Do I mean “when my life ends.”? As we take the Apostle Paul to mean when he says, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished the course?” Yes.
Do I also mean that I want to hurry up and cross the finish line (die) as soon as possible? No. (Although there is some truth, and I identify somewhat with a poem we read in high school about it being best for heroes to die young while the fame of their deeds and the laurel wreath was still fresh-before the applause dies down and they are forgotten). But, heavens! I need to do something to be lauded and wreathed for first!
Do I mean that I want to run several successful races, meet several substantial goals along the way? Yes. I am not putting all my effort, pinning all my hopes, on one gigantic race or project that concludes when life ends.
As a recovering co-dependent, recovery/emotional health is one of those substantial goals. In the past, my yearning and longing has focused on being loved and approved of. It has been my tendency to strive to make myself indispensable, to find my fulfillment or alter my mood by meeting the needs of others (and thereby claiming their praise and approval). While it is a fine thing to give of oneself; it is dangerous to live one’s life solely to meet the goals of someone else. It is the most irresponsible thing a very conscientious person can do. My goal right now (from which I must NOT be deterred by longing and yearning) is to “Be all that my creator intended for me to be” (and that’s not an Army ad). I have additional, more specific, short and longer term goals regarding my writing and my music.
In conclusion, when I wrote, “may I harness the yearning and longing and let them be a matched team that pulls my chariot victoriously across the finish line,” I was referring to short term goals, long term goals and final goals.
Perhaps Emerson expressed it more succinctly when he penned , “Sail into port grandly; or be content to sail with God the seas.”
I don’t think I really learned to walk until I was an adult. Even then, I had to learn to walk again when I was 50- after I lamed myself. It is no secret; I walk for health. Not to become a monument of sculpted beauty and strength; but for all around health: spiritual, physical, mental, emotional. When I walk I pray, meditate, think. I gain a new perspective. This spiritual well-being acquired while walking multiplies the physical benefits of circulation and aerobic fitness. Better circulation of blood and oxygen improves my mental faculties resulting in sharper, clearer perception of my emotions. Bringing emotions into clear focus can be somewhat daunting. When I acknowledge my emotions, I must acknowledge the yearning and longing that surface with high definition in sun and nature. I am wary of acknowledging the longing and yearning. To acknowledge them puts me at risk of attempting to assuage them with false fulfillment. There is so much more I want to do and experience; let me not detour to cheap fulfillment; but rather, may I harness the yearning and longing and let them be a matched team that pulls my chariot victoriously across the finish line.
This morning I mentioned that I am tired of arranging my new home- in the same way one grows tired of eating out and craves a home cooked meal – even though eating out is also a favorite thing of mine. About 8:00 A. M I determined to forget any housework or picture hanging that might be on my “to do” list, and devote my time today to inspiration and self care. I washed my face, put in my contacts, put on my walking shoes and headed away from civilization and toward the red canyons that fan out from the ridges to the south and west of my home. When I walk I am multitasking because I exercise not only my legs and lungs, but my mind, spirit and emotions as well. An hour and a half later I returned and headed to the computer to update my status on Face Book. No sooner had I logged on than my cell phone rang. It was college student #1 calling to have a Saturday chat before the students for whom she is responsible wake (It was 10:30 A.M.). I quickly logged off. Unlike my children, I cannot hold three internet conversations and one cell phone conversation at the same time. Besides, cell phones just are not the same as the traditional old desktop phone. I haven’t yet got the hang of supporting the thing between shoulder and chin while continuing to type as I used to be so adept at doing in my twenties and thirties. I ran upstairs to get better reception and found I no longer had to yell. I was even able to untie and remove my walking shoes with one hand while I continued to talk and listen. Once my shoes were properly put away I removed my sewing machine from the box and got it all set up, then plugged in the iron and commenced pressing white pillow cases and other flat objects. Half way through touching up my professional sweaters and knit shirts I remembered that my phone has a conference call feature so by merely pushing a button I could talk hands free. Now I began to feel just like old times when I would save my ironing to do while talking to a best friend.
When Andrea bid me adieu, I finished my ironing and, seeing the sewing machine was ready to go and the iron hot, decided to alter a pair of office pants that had been hanging in the closet for a number of months. My search for a piece of fabric to use as a (ahem) waist expander took me to the garage. I wasn’t sure which of the six blue Rubbermaid tubs contained the fabric, but I had to move the 4 boxes of books to get to the tubs anyway, so while I was at it I rearranged the boxes in the garage so that Andrea’s things are all in one stack and my music crates are easy to access and Philip’s things are more condensed. In the process I found a little crate that will hold my spray bottles nicely. I brought it in and washed it off –and also ran a sink full of water to soak a few dishes in prep for doing them later. The first tub I looked in was full of wrapping paper items which really should be stored in the house. I hefted it into the kitchen and went for a damp cloth to wash it- and the other dusty tubs in the garage. Then I saw the tub of small child toys and brought it inside to keep in readiness for grandchild visits, but this necessitated rearranging the under stair storage and running upstairs for a hanging expandable closet shelf. While I was up there I turned off the iron. I finally ate lunch after re-heating it three times in the microwave. Thinking of the grandkids again I realized I would not be able to invite them over until I got the morass of phone and Ethernet wire up from the floor, so I ran that wire up the wall and across the ceiling. The afternoon was progressing and I remembered there were pictures to hang while it was still daylight and no neighbors were sleeping on the other side of thin walls. I had to organize the junk and utility drawer in order to put the hammer, nails, and stapler away when I finished picture hanging. Since the scissors were right there, I removed all the tags from the 12 sofa pillows I bought the other day. Then I remembered that I needed to look though the music crates to find saxophone music for the newest school band member. When I took four of the pillows upstairs it prompted me to rearrange a few things in my room to accommodate them…Dear reader, I took my morning shower at 5:00 P.M. and closed my garage door at 7:30 P.M. It is now after nine and I think I’d better go finish my dishes- they have had a good long soak.
In the last 8 months I have made at least five trips to Gunnison and back; to visit, travel with, or provide transportation for Andrea. Each time I tell myself, “I really must take the Black Canyon North Route to Hotchkiss and around next time.” So, today, on the way home from a quiet 21st birthday celebration with Andrea, I did just that. I was alone and the car has been making funny noises, but, it was well worth the extra travel time. The colors are starting to change in the mountains. I turned onto highway 92 about four P.M. when the sun was poised languidly on the last toehold of afternoon, a beautiful time to observe scenery. I stopped at the “Hermit’s Rest” scenic overlook, parked my car and stood at the rail. Below me the Gunnison River backed up from Morrow Point, broad and green. I was able to do a bit of traveling this summer. Always the sights that caused me to linger, be inspired and refreshed were mountains, oceans, bodies of water. “And to think,” said I to myself as I drank in the mountain grandeur and fall foliage rising steeply on the other side of the canyon, “It’s right here in my own backyard.”