If something burns your soul with purpose and desire, it’s your duty to be reduced to ashes by it, Any other form of existence will be yet another dull book in the library of life – Charles Bukowski
On Friday it was 40 weeks till I attempt my channel crossing. That is not a long way away. I have been working for this goal for over 4 years and in 40 weeks time it will be done. This time last year, I had Bilharzia and this time next year I will have completed my channel crossing. It blew my mind to think how short life is and how quickly time goes. How much happens in one season and how we work so hard for one thing and then it’s over.
From when I set this goal, I have tried to be so intentional in keeping my eyes focused on the journey and the process rather than the end goal. It has been incredibly tough not to get distracted by the end goal and to also realise that the end goal is actually not the end, but one more stepping stone in my journey.
As I set up my ‘official countdown’ I am so aware that at the end of 40 weeks, is just the beginning of a potentially new season and journey. When I find myself getting overwhelmed by the bigness of my dreams and this crossing, I take a step back and remind myself that I need to enjoy the journey.
I have mentioned a few times in my recent blogs the importance of finding joy in the journey and as clichéd as that sounds; I know it to be true. Life is too short not to enjoy the moments.
The quote above is quite fitting to start off my count down. With a goal like mine, it can be all consuming and I find I can never fully rest from the task at hand. Even in my times of rest from training, the goal is never far from my mind. Everything I do is to shape my life into more of where my passions lie, more into where I feel God leading me with my gifts and talents and more into the unknown adventure life holds. I do not want to be another dull library book on the shelf of life; I want to be well worn and used with torn pages and curled edges, stains and faded words. I want to live to my full potential and be reduced to ashes having lived a full life.
I was at a ladies camp this past weekend with some incredible women of God. The theme of the camp was being unlocked and finding God in the secret garden (based n the book) I was asked to share a small part of my journey and as I did, I had this realisation.
I am so blessed to have the freedom to live out my dreams, to pursue my passions and be surrounded by incredible people who support me and help me to live these out. I carry the gift of joy in me and 8 years ago, I lost my joy in my swimming. I found it incredibly hard to stay motivated to train as I neared retirement because I no longer found joy in it. I ended my career on a high, but not after an incredibly tough season of figuring stuff out and finding purpose in my sport again and through that, finding joy. After a 3 year break from any focused sport, I found myself across from my good friend and sports psychologist rehashing my identity as an athlete and ultimately shaping my future with the primary goal being to enjoy the process. The word ‘enjoy’ means to take delight or pleasure in. ‘Joy stems from that very word.
I am now convinced it is because of the Joy of the Lord in me
People have often commented how much they love watching me swim when I do my ‘big swims’ simply because they can see the joy it brings me. It makes me so happy to hear that, because I am not even aware that it is so obvious that I love what I do and all the swims I have accomplished to date have been relatively easy at the time (despite less than ideal preparation at times) and I am now convinced it is because of the Joy of the Lord in me that gives me the strength to complete these swims with such relative ease. It takes the pressure off me, because I know, that by living out what I love and maintaining the perspective of being intentional in enjoying and having fun in the process, I will find strength to continue when it gets tough.