Several months ago our family joined the local YMCA. An invitation came home from our daughters elementary school to participate in a free, two-week trial with the Y’s swim team. She loves to swim and like most children who are the last ones born and the youngest of FIVE, she has traipsed to enough of her siblings and cousins events without ever having found her own.

That white piece of paper was THE invitation for her to do just that.

Needless to say, she loves it and we felt it was a place for her to thrive in many different ways so we joined. THE GYM. Now I am not a gym person.I have not been in a gym since college when my friend Jen taught some aerobics class when aerobics was even a thing. Pavement is my workout vice, NOT the treadmill. Or the weight machine. Or some, stinky, sweaty rubber mat. B-U-T I have been sick and running outside has not been conducive to healing so the other night, I buckled down and went.

To the gym.

It feels like such a dirty word.

I put on workout clothes that I wouldn’t mind being seen in public in and we gathered around the table as I announced to my entire family, “I can’t believe I am going to THE GYM” because in my mind, this was an event like no other. They could less about my dramatazation but instead talked about how EVERYONE is headed to the gym right now. It’s the beginning of January and New Years resolutions are in full swing and the gym is one places to meet the best intended of all people on this planet and rightly so. They have hopes and dreams and goals and it made me think once more about what I START and what I FINSH.

I’ve started a lot of things over the years. Most of what I’ve started I would say I’ve finished but I do have things that i lost drive and excitement for and I wonder what ever in the world happened to them. Either I was emotionally charged when I embarked or unrealistic in my goals…perhaps both. Who knows and it doesn’t quite matter now but what DOES matter is I have goals in 2017. For the last two months, I have sat and prayed about WHY I want to start and HOW I’m going to finish.

Because finishing IS important. Why haven’t I in the past??

As I prayed, I realized my answer.

All things I’ve started, be it a new relationship or something that I do; a new hobby, new habit or new goal gets hard along the way. It gets complicated or inconvenient. It gets a lot of things and the picture I have in my head and the reality that I have in front of me end up being two totally different things at the end of the day. My enthusiasm to finish deflates and with it, my HOPE, which acts like a ballon. Hope can inflate or deflate not only my confidence but my will to start AND finish.  When I lose HOPE, I lose myself for HOPE is the back bone of everything IN me to ever DO.

HOPE tells me things are POSSIBLE and to KEEP TRYING. 

Brian Johnson said this once at it has stuck with me, “A person who has HOPE knows every decision they make will effect their future. But a person without hope only makes decisions for the moment, can’t see past the immediate, and most time those decisions made are bad and lack follow through.”

Yes, hard gets in the way. Hard comes and pops our ballon full of HOPE and we give up.

I have a hallway upstairs near our bedrooms lined with paint cans. I started painting some of our rooms well over a month ago and before that, well over a YEAR AGO but WHO is keeping track of all that? The holidays hit and kids were home and actually insisted on living in the very rooms I planned to paint and I lost by can-do. I can make a 1,001 excuses why my hallway is half Tan and half Goldenrod but at then end of the day, my motivation needs a good talking to. Like my friend with pug named Roy (and who names their dog Roy? That’s almost worse than naming your baby Burt). Roy likes to chew.

Underwear.

Bed Post.

Shoes.

ALL Shoes.

She WAS correcting him regularly when he was a puppy but after awhile, she gave up. It didn’t seem to be working because he was forever finding her underwear and her ruby red flats. So now, she buys underwear in bulk from Amazon and just hopes she has a fresh pair left come Monday morning.

Moral of the story? Before you start, know in that pretty little head of yours that it is going to get hard and inconvenient and you will lose that good feeling that makes you think you can do all things. Remind yourself ahead of time that you may not be able to do ALL things but you certainly CAN do hard things. So that pretty idealistic picture you have your head, shatter it by replacing it with the SAME imagery but crumble it up a bit. Stain the edges with coffee and then cry yourself some big, ole tears all drippy and wet and drop them on that idealistic picture you have in your head and heart. When you are all said and done, rip an edge or two for good measure and call it perfect and end the day.

Wa-La.

So before you start, know WHY you are starting. This will be the nutrition you need before your feet cross the line and you start the race and then ask yourself HOW you are going to finish. If you don’t ask yourself these two questions, then maybe just don’t offically start yet. Leg work is important. Training takes time so train well BEFORE you begin because once you begin…it all just begins to look DIFFERENT. Knowing your WHY and your HOW will help you dig your heels into THAT relationship or THAT job or your numerous parenting dilemmas, etc.

Most things have an end. It is a natural progression in this life but there is a difference between finishing because your work is completed and quitting because your work got hard and inconvenient.  YOU are a finisher. Remember that. You see things to completion just like I’ll someday soon finish painting my hallway and then move on to the next room. Just like my friend who has the Pug named Roy who  is trying once more to salvage her home, her shoes and her intimates by using Bitter Apple Spray to deter his chewing efforts…Bless.

Getting started is exciting. It is a high all its own but at the end of the day, at the end of this life, finishing is MOST important.

Finish well my friends.

Much Love,

August

P.S. A thought popped in my head about our table. You know, the one I envision us ALL sitting around. I have this idea so here it goes:

Imagine we are sitting around a large ROUND TABLE. You have your coffee and I have something stronger, just because. I say to you, because we are friends and I want to know you past what you had for dinner last night…”So what do YOU want to start in 2017? WHAT is on YOUR heart?”

What would your answer be?

So now this is where YOU are invited to share…and please don’t leave me hanging, having further rejection issues to contend with.