“Completing the Journey”
Completing a journey can sometimes be difficult. Some give up. Others never begin. The last few steps can be the hardest. I recall climbing Mt Kenya. We were one hundred yards from the 18,000 foot peak. It was just right there! During those last few steps it was as if I had cement in my shoes. I took two steps at a time and then my lungs were bursting. A rest, one more deep deep breath, two more steps,,,,,,,,, Then, euphoria! Three days of hard climbing completed. Running a marathon is similar. The last six miles are a killer. It’s as if you’re running on fumes. Absolute will pushes you forward, or not! Then a doctoral thesis. Research, writing, re-writing, debating with the supervisor, crossing t’s, dotting i-s, and the dreaded oral defense. How do you spell mental/intellectual exhaustion?
Life is like that. It’s an existential reality. We set goals combined with an action plan, and then we begin the journey. Maybe it’s paying off a debt, coping with an anxiety or a specific fear, working hard so you can come off an antidepressant, overcoming a habit, finishing a painting job in the house, a sermon, completing some art work. Keeping up the same enthusiasm, the work ethic, the motivation and determination from point A to Z can be a grind.
Procrastination is often the enemy of the journey. For procrastination you need a procrastinator. According to GOOGLE this is; “a person who delays or puts things off — like work, chores, or other actions — that should be done in a timely manner. Procrastinator comes from the Latin verb procrastinare, which means deferred until tomorrow.” The key phrase here is “deferred until tomorrow.”
Imagine taking a break (a deferral) in the middle of a marathon, a thesis, on a treacherous mountain, or a pilot telling the co-pilot, “I’m gonna go find an empty seat and have a nap.” (a deferral) Or an actor on stage whispering to the only other actor on stage in front of a full house, “I’m gonna go to the loo, cover for me.” J
In 2 Corinthians 6:2 we read; “For he says, “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.”
Salvation is also a journey. “I am saved, I am being saved, I will be saved.” It’s like sanctification on the run. And salvation is hard. Paul said in Philippians 2:12 “Therefore my dear friends, as you have always obeyed–not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence–continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” You may ask, is this what I signed up for? Is this what I was taught? Did I read the fine print in advance of a quiet decision? Can I finish this journey, this race? One could argue that completing the journey of salvation is a daily task.
Walking the Chignecto Trail this summer, all 51 kilometers, sometimes at a 45 degree angles up and down, over rock and root, reminded me of the fear and trembling of my salvation. The journey was an analogy for my spiritual life. There was; fear, physical exhaustion, ongoing hydration, danger, the intake of food, commitment, fellowship. Like our salvation there was a beginning and an end. There were high points and low ones. But what was key was the strength of those other fellow hikers around me. We gently pushed each other forward. We helped each other with very helpful hints. (repack the pack. To much weight on the bottom, to much weight in the pack)
Going to therapy can be fearful. You divulge things no one else knows. You will be faced with the tension between cognition and will compounded by temptation to give up with all kinds of excuses. But nevertheless it is a journey that will have a significant reward at the end. Try visualising therapy as riding a bike with training wheels. The goal is to ride without those wheels. Immense joy comes when you begin to ride on your own. Let that be like being under the guidance of coping skills taught by a counsellor, implemented by the client. The important tension will always be between cognition and personal will during the therapeutic journey. That cognitive tension pushes one on the healing path to emotional fitness. And, yes, “If it’s gonna be it’s up to me.” :)”
So, let the journey begin. “Are we almost there?”