Saturday, November 21, 2009

Half Time Oranges

And so it finally happens...

I have reached the milestone point in my life where according to the biblical adage (three score years and ten), I've reached halfway on my journey.

That's right... I'm now 35 years of age (although I have no intention of checking out early or on time... I'm far too stubborn).

Nevertheless, now is a good time to stop and take stock of what has gone before and what potentially lies ahead.

Half time oranges... that time when footballers come off the pitch for a dressing down or a pep talk from the Manager.

I'd probably consider the score to be 3-3. I figure I started out badly and lost ground, very quickly going several goals down. However as I said before, I am stubborn, tenacious and I don't give up. I have fought hard to reconcile many of my mistakes and failings. I wouldn't presume to be ahead... but I believe I have settled most of the scores and it's a do over. In the great marathons, the popular ones... many runners start way behind the start line and have to race a fair distance before even starting the race properly. That's what I have done... I have crossed the start line.

There's two ways you can go after that, you can focus on how tiring it's been... getting to where you are; or you can steel yourself for what is ahead, by acknowledging that although the trek has been lengthy... the momentum is with you, and that by the grace of God you can overcome all the hurdles, challenges and pitfalls that remain... and cross the line as the winning man.

There's a song by Show of Hands that really resonates with me, it's about a poor Irishman who bets on a horse in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. It is called The Galway Farmer:

The reason the song resonates with me, is that it's about spotting the signs and putting faith in them... and also that in the song, the fate in the horse kind of mirrors how I feel my life has gone. I've taken a few tumbles but have kept my feet. I'd say I'm now at the point where I've started to jump fences OK and am just finding the rails.

Tennyson's poem "Ulysses" (depending on how you read it), ends on a similar inspirational note:

"that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."

And yes, I do note that once again I have returned to the Homeric character of Odysseus (see NiCK'S SANCTUARY: In Search of Ithaca), but it does seem appropriate.

The whistle blows.

It's time to move on, wipe the sweat from the brow and focus not on what has gone before (only calling to mind the lessons learned), and stepping boldly forward to greet whatever giants, or trials await me in the second half... and smite them down on the path to victory:

"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air."
1 Corinthians 9:24-26

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