Many times in life we set out in pursuit of something, believing that once we achieve the goal we will be finished with the struggle. I think we need to change our expectations, because the truth is, we’re never finished. Success is an ever-changing process. Here are 3 big examples:
WEIGHT LOSS – 7 years ago, I made a decision to take control of my weight. I joined Weight Watchers and proceeded to lose 65 pounds. I was very focused, concentrating on being DONE – reaching that goal. What I’ve learned since then is that it’s actually more difficult to keep the weight off than it was to lose it in the first place. Nobody gives you kudos for the daily pound to pound ups and downs. Yes, I’ve done a lot of lifestyle changes, but one naughty weekend involving nachos or cookies and that scale will jump. I’m not saying don’t lose the weight. Losing the weight was one of the best things I’ve ever done for my health & self-confidence. What I am saying is that reaching my goal weight in no way meant the battle was over.
SCHOOL – Having a son graduating this year reminds me how nearly every school kid longs for graduation. You’ll hear “I can’t wait til I’m DONE.” Whether or not they plan to attend college they seem to think that finishing high school means they’re done with the boring/hard/classroom stuff. College will be different because it’s just so cool, right? And once you have a job you already know what you’re doing so you don’t have to learn anything new, right? We can see how silly this is, yet for some reason we still go right along with our kids when they long to be DONE.
MARRIAGE – And here’s the 3rd big myth about the big finish… Once you get remarried the pain of your former life, your divorce, your singleness will be over. If only that were true!
Again, this is where the work really begins. Or at least turns in a new direction. You both have a lot of healing to do, no matter how much you did while you were single. Feeling healthy while you’re on your own is one thing. But once you apply a new spouse and step-kids, some of the areas you thought were completely healed start to ache again. No matter how different your new spouse is from the first one, there are sore spots in your heart that are going to be rubbed raw again. And now you both have to learn how to finish that healing process together.
A long time ago I heard someone say, “If I’d worked half as hard to keep my first marriage together as I have to work every day in my 2nd one, I never would have gotten divorced.” It took me years to understand this. Actually, it took me getting divorced & remarried to understand what this woman meant. What she was saying was actually a good thing. She had finally learned how much work is involved in any marriage. Now it’s up to us to teach our kids (and our step-kids) how to work that hard the first time around. It’s our duty to help them understand that life won’t be easier if we only had a different spouse. We have the opportunity now to let our lessons serve as teachers for the next generation.
As long as we’re here on earth, it looks like everything worth doing will take work on our parts. We never stop battling food temptations, wrapping our brains around new concepts, striving to be a better spouse. Perhaps heaven will provide a giant hammock where we can finally kick back and know that the work is DONE.
(archived from Apr. 26, 2013)