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Finish This Chapter First

Maybe it’s an occupational hazard, but life seems to me to function in chapters.  Sometimes one chapter closes and you move on to the next with no warning.  Something big happens unexpectedly, or you just look around one day and realize that without you knowing it, you’ve moved on.  You’re in the next phase of your life, the next chapter.

Other times you can see it coming.  You can sense that things are starting to come to a close; things are wrapping up to move you on to the next great thing.  That’s when the impatience sets in.  You can see it, what lies over the next horizon, and you can practically touch it, feel it, taste it, but you’re not quite there.  You want it so badly, you start moving on prematurely, jumping ahead and skipping steps.  Which inevitably leads to falling flat on your face because you moved too far too fast.  You weren’t ready for that step; the universe wasn’t ready for that step. So discouraged you get up and head down the road again.  Maybe this time you’re more cautious.  Or maybe this time a seed of bitterness has set in, you’re tired of this chapter and can think of nothing but the next.

But you can’t do that.  You can’t skip ahead.  Dues must be paid and every step that is required must be taken.  Just because you can see the next chapter does not mean that you get to stop writing your current chapter.  I can see my next chapter, but I’m not done with this one, not even close.  I’ve simply found enough clarity to see where this road leads, and I like what I see.  But I have to finish this chapter first, and I have to finish it the way that I started it. I’ve made the journey by myself.  One step at a time, through the brambles and bushes, and I have to continue up the hill until I see the top.

Of course I’ve had my life-lines, and there have been stretches that they have carried me part of the way, but when all was said and done they put me back on my feet and let me stumble my way forward.  Nobody held my hand. Nobody laid the path out neatly before me.  They let me find my way on my own, and so it is partly to them that I owe it to finish this out on my own.  Finish this chapter first, and then move on to the next.  Look to the here and now, focus and do the work required to finish this out.  Finish like I started.