September 17, 2012

all finish lines are fake.

I've been thinking about this post I wrote-- Rejoice in the finishes AMIDST your unfinished!

I want to shout to all the world-- especially to the women!!  Rejoice in all that you do!!  You are never done, but you are doing GREAT!!
we don't rejoice enough.

Finish lines, graduations, final exams, even the endings of books, they are ALL man-made and fake. 
In life, we don’t finish, we don’t fail, we don’t succeed.
we are progressing... 
i don't even believe that death is an end... in some ways it is only a beginning.
a "graduation".  
don't you want to laugh at kindergarten graduations?  i do.
Bwahahahaha! you have finished year one... 110 years to go!!

When measuring a man’s speed, finish lines are necessary. 
Ask yourself this question, does the fact that one man is a mere fragment of a second faster across the finish line actually mean that he is faster than the man in second place?
What if there were no finish line?
How would we measure who is faster?

Almost all finish lines are subjective. 

Didn’t some brilliant teacher (what’s his name anyway?) FAIL Albert Einstein? 
Is it possible that Albert Einstein really FAILED science?

Didn’t Jane Austin’s writing become famous only after she died? 
She wrote.  She was brilliant and classic, even if nobody knew it. 
Had she died without ever having any of her works even published, would she still have been a brilliant writer? 

Brilliance is not determined by FAME or FINISH LINES or the number of questions you can answer on some man’s written test.

I sincerely HOPE that no man ever graduates with his MD and thinks that he has learned all he needs to know to heal people.
I sincerely hope that no woman ever walks back down the isle with her new MRS. title thinking, “We are now ONE.”
Learning takes time and is never ending.
I believe unless we are damned—or stopped. We will be eternally progressing.

SOOOO, why do we need finish lines?
Why?  I’ll tell you.

My son ran cross country last fall.
Cross country is a wonderful sport and it is tough.
I watched this boy run hard.  During the last uphill of the race I could see tears in his eyes and determination on his face. 
Oh how my mother’s heart would ache for this boy as he pushed himself!
I was so proud of his effort and his grit.  
I never cared whether or not he came in first. 
There really is no first and no last. 
There is always someone faster and always many slower.
I loved his effort.  His training.  His ability to endure for a time.
Effort can not be sustained indefinitely.
There MUST be a time when we stop running. 
When we breathe and drink and smile at our mother who is cheering us on from the sidelines.
There must be a time when we joke with our friends on the bus and just enjoy the beautiful afternoon.
Racing is good.  TRYING is good.  But, fake finish lines are ESSENTIAL.

We should not need wine or Friday night at the club to feel at peace.
We should not need to numb out with mindless tv or internet to REST.
We need to teach ourselves to FEEL JOY amidst our temporary finish lines and to REST.
I’m afraid society has forgotten how to do this and subsequently we are replacing NUMB for FINISHED.
People need NUMB to replace DONE and at PEACE.
Escape is not REST.  Find rest.  Feel rest.
You are enough.

There is NO END to housework.
There is NO END to parenting.
There is NO END to becoming better and making mistakes.
There is NO END to learning to love.
There is NO END to trying.
There is NO END to learning.
Your jobs have NO END, your problems have NO END.
Life is about learning and growing and climbing.

And so, we must make our own FAKE FINISHES.
We must find temporary resting places. 
We must stop and enjoy the view at the REST STOPS of life or we will miss the whole trip!

Don’t miss it!  Don’t spend your whole life waiting for the finish line you think will come!
Don’t think once they go to school it will be better.
Don’t think once they are potty trained...
Don’t wish for grown kids or a husband who could just put his laundry in the basket.
Another deadline will appear magically once your original deadline is attained.
That is life.
Finish lines are fake.  We must pause and enjoy the race. 
Neither the turtle or the hare wins unless one of them takes time to pause and enjoy their small victory!

We MUST use the finite scope of this earth life and celebrate our own fake finishes.
Labels are given to men and woman by other men and women, or are self appointed.
Does having a baby make you a “mother” or do you become a mother as you learn and grow?
What about adopted mothers?  When do they become?
When do you label yourself “a writer” or “a runner” or “patient”.
Who get’s to label one an “expert.”
Life is ambiguous and constantly in a state of motion.
Not one person with an organized home would EVER say their house is completely organized.  
Not even the best teacher would ever think they had taught all that they knew.
No child is ever raised.
There is always one more revision to be made on your final drafts.
Label yourself a work in progress and just BE who you are! 
Stop beating yourself up and start being yourself.
Just BE.  

Life is as much about running as it is about knowing when to stop.
Teaching your children to rest and enjoy life is as important as teaching your children to work hard and try!
Allowing yourself moments to rejoice are essential to one’s mental well-being.

Our world is turning into a constant race!!
We are pushing ourselves and our children to be the smartest, the skinniest, the fastest, the cutest, the kindest, the best.
We are chasing unattainable mirages.
We are chasing finish lines that are really only markers of time along an eternal cross country jog.
Do we remember GRACE?  Do we remember that IT IS ENOUGH?
Do we remember that His yoke is easy and his burden is light? 
Climb Mt. Fuji, little snail.  But, slowly, slowly.

i have heard mothers crying that the have failed because their THREE YEAR old was not sharing in nursery.
you can NOT fail if you are not finished.
Three year olds are not ruined, because they are not finished yet.
Neither are we... we are not finished yet.

And, like i tell my running son, you WIN if you keep trying.
Never stop starting!
You can't stop, really.  Life is a swiftly flowing river.
We can float for a time.
We can enjoy the journey for a time.
We can spend our today yearning for tomorrow or mourning our yesterdays, but we can not hold back the current.
Life flows forward.
Just make the next RIGHT choice and celebrate it.

I see so many good, good, good people who beat themselves up by all that they are NOT.
You might not be first, but you are running!  And, that is great.
Stop for a few minutes, relax and make yourself a big ribbon to hang on your wall that says- Number One Mother!! 
Tell yourself that for today you are in first place and REJOICE!

I like fake finishes.
the end.


Aimee said...

Very thoughtful post Jenifer. I love this perspective...I've never pondered this before. Thank you.

Catherine Andrews said...

Just what I needed to hear. But how do we keep this perspective in the world that we are in? I get so caught up in the finish line that I loose perspective. I think I will print this out and read it every day. Thank you so much for being willing to write these things!

Catherine from Wyoming

Tiffany said...

I like the idea of not having failed if I haven't yet finished. This is a GREAT thought to ponder at the end of a long, suck-ish day... thanks for providing a much-needed "aha!" moment! :-)

Also... did you write "There is NO END to housework" w/the tune of "If You Could Hie to Kolob" running through your head? I giggled thinking about it in that paragraph! :-)

jenifer said...

Catherine- I have no idea how... That is why it is something I am constantly pondering. Surround yourself with people who run at your same pace towards your same goal, yet stay near those who are faster and better because that gives you something to aim for. Sleep and sunsets are God's way of giving us temporary finishes. Illness is God's way of reminding us what is really important. Children remind us to slow down and enjoy the journey. Hunger helps us to stop and refuel. I suppose nature and seasons are there to help us- if we take moments to enjoy them!

Thanks Aimee!

Tiff- of course I was singing while I wrote!

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