This summer I took my grandmother on a road trip with me to three cities I had never been to before: Charleston, Asheville, and Savannah. We spent one night in Asheville, two nights in Charleston, and the last night was spent in Savannah. There was a lot of driving involved, and if you’ve ever been to Savannah, you know the journey there is rather straight… and long… and boring. Yep, you’re driving for what feels like an eternity.
I love traveling, but one part I don’t particularly enjoy is the drive home. There are roads you’ve already been on, billboards you’ve already read, and landmarks you’ve already seen. My grandma, 84 years old, never learned how to drive, so I drove the entirety of the trip. After four days of driving to this city and that one and three round trips to the beach, I was ready for my bed… and a shower… and to not be sitting in that same position anymore! I sounded almost like a kid would in backseat:
“Grandma, are we there yet?” Or, “Ugh, we still aren’t home,” Or, “it feels like we haven’t moved an inch!”
Grandma would say, without fail(she’s known to tell the same story over and over; ask any one of her 10 kids, 17 grandkids, or 11 great grandkids), “We aren’t there yet, but we’re closer than we were before!” She’d say it with such joy and such excitement that we’ve made progress, even though it really didn’t feel like it.
I was reminded of this conversation one morning going into work. I wanted some coffee (of course) so I had stopped at Starbucks. I had also stopped there to buy a gift card for a friend who was having a birthday, so this particular morning, I had to go in! Oh no! Not only was the line practically out the door, but I was borderline running late. If you know me, you know I don’t do late. It stresses me out. I believe in the whole, “If you’re not 15 minutes early, you’re late,” thing.
Finally. I got my coffee. I got the gift card. I looked down at my phone with relief that I could probably still make it to work on time, barely. I got in my car, started driving, and you won’t believe what happened. Actually, yes, you will! I was running into every red light! I was rather annoyed, and I thought to myself, “Seriously, it’s 10:15, and I’m not there yet(my shift starts at 10:30 and typically by 10:15, I’m parked and about to walk in)!”
“We’re not there yet, but we’re closer than we were before!” came at me like my grandma was sitting in the passenger seat right next to me. And I breathed.
How right is my grandma?
Not only about getting to work on time, but in about reaching any goal that we’ve set out to reach. We find ourselves rushing to the next big thing without taking time to enjoy the journey. We get frustrated when we don’t reach our goal immediately, and we burn out or give up. It takes a bit of courage to try something new, but it takes an even greater amount of courage to finish through to the end.
Sir Francis Drake, a navigator of the sea who truly finished what he started, (he sailed the entire world!) said:
“There must be a beginning of any great matter, but the continuing unto the end until it be thoroughly finished yields the true glory.”
Yes, we get excited when we start something new. I know a lot of us have started work out regimens, dieting plans, and some of us are setting lofty goals like focusing on those around us better or having a more positive attitude and complaining less as the New Year brings a fresh start, but what happens when March rolls around or June, and our goal we set for ourselves is long forgotten?
That’s what happens most of the time, because in life, we rush from goal to goal, destination to destination and neglect the in between, but the in between, where a majority of our time is spent, is where we learn. Had we cherished the “waiting period” or that time when we feel like our goal is so far away, we would look back after all is said and done, and realize that we have been successful, because we have learned, and we have grown.
Instead of getting discouraged when my dreams don’t come true immediately or when my goals are not met as quickly as I think they should be, I’m going to persevere. Perseverance will get me home on a long, straight road. Perseverance says, “I’m sticking this out even though it’s hard, and even though the benefits aren’t immediate!” Even when it seems like I’m not making progress, I am.
Think about it.
What do you want the most? What vision for your life have you given up on because you’ve been praying for it for years, and it has yet to happen? What goal are you trying to reach that you’ve started over time and time again only to quit because it’s taking too long?
Instead of quitting, stay the course. You’ll get there. When you don’t seem like you’re getting anywhere, hang in there, friend. Like my grandma said, you’re not there yet, but you’re closer than you were before!