Endure to the End
Been reading a lot of things on Enduring to the End today. It's an interesting and deep subject to talk about. What does it mean to 'endure to the end?' How does one endure to the end? And to what end are we trying to endure to?
Enduring to the end to me means to patiently, yet persistently pursue goals, objectives, and to have real meaning in my life. <!--more-->
I have lots of things I want to do, both now and within my life. And some for even after that. Things like learning the guitar, writing more stories, and hiking to various places.
I also have points of 'meaning' that I want. They differ from goals because they have to do with feelings rather than checkoff lists. Meaning is found in enjoying the guitar, stories, and hiking. Like bringing my camera along and seeing the world from a different view.
And in how I spend my time with others. I could make it a goal to spend more time with friends, and yet if that time is time spent with them just for the sake of a goal, the meaning is lost. If instead I make the most of it and actually really truly enjoy it, then I have found meaning.
And if I find things that edify my soul, well, then I have found some real treasures of meaning.
But I digress.
Enduring in all these things means that I keep at them, and still keep balance in my life. It does no good to use all my free time on the guitar and forget to exercise, eat right, and take care of myself, as well as my daily responsibilities.
Truthfully, that could almost be seen as greed. Too much too fast.
Instead, I practice three times a week, write a story each week or two, and hike every other week. It allows me to continue 'upward' in my goals and desires, without overwhelming me or throwing me off balance.
There is also a harder side to enduring. Life is not always easy. We are given hard times that we may more fully enjoy the good ones. It's the same as when a good friend passes away. You cry because of all the good times you had.
The only way to not feel terrible and not cry is to not have the good times. To not love others.
In the same way eliminating all possible bad times would lessen the joy we have in the good times.
And so we endure the bad times. Yet is that enough? Is it enough to just put up with the bad times, to complain about it, and to get grouchy?
Or is it better to smile. No, not deny the bad, but accept it, and smile through the 'tears.' It's hard. Very hard to do. Yet I would say that is a great way to do it. That while you grieve, while you struggle. While the world seems like it may cave in at any moment, that you work through it, and move forward in faith.
We are not only suppose to endure, but endure well.
What does that mean? It means to keep doing your 'routines.' Keep reading and studying. Keep praying. Keep growing and exploring.
You may need to slow down, especially in the even of a health crisis. But don't give up. If you find yourself only able to do one thing that you use to be able to do, then do it no matter how small, and be happy in that one thing. (And if you can't do anything, hold out hope. Use your imagination to explore your options. And remember that optimism has scientifically been shown to make people live longer, healthy, and better than those without it).
In the end I would suggest praying for guidance, doing what you can and what you are prompted to do, and allowing the Lord to do the rest.
Some may ask 'Why? What's the point?' The answer will be different depending on your own beliefs, but there are many similar things I have noticed.
People like to enjoy life, even when problems happen. Is it good to wait for the storm to pass until we allow ourselves to get back to our lives? Or is it better to
Learn to dance in the rain.
That is my belief, and I have found that many of the most traumatic and terrible experiences of my life have helped me to understand myself better as well as others and the world around me.
They also disappear, though I do not believe it is just due to 'time.' I have dealt with many bad memories for years while other ones were gone very quickly. Maybe is it because I learned the lesson or otherwise was able to work through some quicker than others. Maybe because some fed upon my fears. Whatever it was, while I do not believe that 'time heals all wounds,' I do believe that all unseen 'wounds' can heal. Each one just takes a little different approach. Which makes sense when you consider physical wounds take different approaches and methods.
Also, having this optimism, positiveness, or whatever you want to call it is also better for our health. Studies have shown that optimism and a positive outlook on life amid struggles, actually activates the immune system, stimulates the body's grown and repair, all of which can then take on tumors, cancer, and many other diseases (no, optimism by itself does not prevent these things, but has been shown to help a lot.) It also can help with heart disease, and can lower stress which has been shown to be hurtful on the body.
So why endure well? Because life is better when we life in it, rather than constantly waiting for everything to be 'okay' before we are willing to live. It's also better on our health
And now the 'where?' I believe in a life after death, but not with harps and fluffy clouds. What? No clouds? Ya, because constant scenery consisting of just clouds would be just boring (clouds are nice, but they need something more...). Why would heaven be any less gorgeous that here? Wouldn't it be much, much more so? And wouldn't our minds still yearn for knowledge? And what about art? What about all the things both small and large that make everything so awesome and give it so much variety?
I believe that the next life will be like this one, except without the bad. We will continue to learn, to grow, to 'work' (though not like here), and to exercise our gifts. For me personally, that means I will be able to keep writing stories, building things, exploring great music and places and art.
You may think 'That's nice, but what does that have to do with enduring?' It means when I finish here on earth, my works and projects and fun things will have only begun. It means I can keep on living. Really living.
Here's a metaphor. I did track in High School, and in the races we were always told to run past the finish line. It was not enough to just run to it. If you just run to the finish line, you will slow down just before it. Instead, run past it, and you will get the best time with no regrets.
How do you run past it? By looking past it. Aim higher. Try for something more. By doing so you block out the noise and distractions. By focusing on what you really want and what you truly desire, you can live life to the fullest, doing things you never thought possible. Hard? Yes. Doable? Of course. Oh, and I don't mean living to the 'fullest' with your wallet. I mean by doing and holding onto that which matters the most in your life, so you can be happy and content. And only you know what those most important people, things, goals, and desires are.
And of course, you don't know exactly where the finish line is, so if you really want those things, now is the time. Don't let fear get you down. Live life one day at a time, perhaps even one moment at a time (preparing as needed). Give it your all, and be satisfied with that.
I wish you all the best. Even if you don't believe all of this, I hope you will take that which will help. You were born for greatness, if you will allow yourself to see it, search for it, find it, and hold onto it.