It’s a common cliché in war movies; the “short timer” is most likely to buy it before the end of the film. Yet, it’s become a cliché precisely because it’s so true in real life. When you’re almost done your body starts telling you about how tired you are. You begin to relax slightly. You let your guard down. It’s easy to start thinking you deserve a break and resent the time you still must fulfill to complete the task; resent “interruptions” which are really part of the job in the first place.
When you get close to the end of something it’s easy to start thinking about what comes after. When you start focusing on “after” you’re more likely to lose sight of right now. It’s something that needs repetition simply because human nature continues to fight us despite attitude and training.
After battling cancer for nine months I found myself thinking this way. The end was in sight; no cancer found in the body, only a few weeks of treatment left… And I was as antsy as a ten-year-old with spring fever. All I could think about was getting my strength—and hair—back. I wanted it done; now. I grew impatient with the endless rounds of treatment and cold medical poking and probing. But the fact is I wasn’t done yet. Bailing at that point would make as much sense as stopping an oil change procedure after only putting in two quarts.
The Apostle Paul had some advice on the subject of seeing a job through; “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9
Rather than calling on guilt—get back to work!—Paul gives us a good reason to see the job done. There’s a benefit to sticking it out. We’ll reap a harvest; our sanity, our family, our life, eternal life. Focus, keeping our eye on the ball, is the best way to keep a healthy perspective. It’s also the best way to make sure the “after” is worth the effort.
Now I am really and truly finished with treatments. Oh, sure, followups will follow me all the days of my life, but I am past THIS phase. Life, here I come.
A shot of the Super Deluxe X-Ray Monster