Magical Thinking

Magical Thinking

2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  

This verse always takes me back 30 years to a hot summer day of mowing our church’s cemetery. As I mowed, I would read the inscriptions on the tombstones. Out of hundreds, I remember only the one with today’s passage on it. I remember thinking that I wanted this verse to be true about my life.

I have known those of whom this could be said and I have looked at them with some envy. When I got out of treatment, I met those who had 20 years of sobriety. I wanted to be able to say that about myself. My recent past was painful and I wanted it to be something that happened long ago. Someday I will be able to look back with satisfaction at how I lived my life . . .

This is the same sentiment that I felt as a child when I watched any sports movie about the underdog who worked for years to overcome impossible odds. Inspired, I planned to start training, tomorrow. When tomorrow came, my passion fizzled.

We all do this to some extent. We watch a marathon and think, I should do that, but then we never run. We see someone else lose weight and think, I’ll start tomorrow. We watch someone grow and change and we think, If only I could change. We engage in magical thinking which is really the same thing as doing nothing.

What I must accept, is that 20 years of sobriety is only made one day at a time and one moment at a time. That time starts now. If I want a thing to be true tomorrow, I must do what it takes to get there today. Magical thinking gets me nowhere.

At the end of my life, I want to be able to say that I have kept the faith. Today then, I must choose to keep my eyes on God, making my feet follow. Tomorrow I will do the same. This is how I will get there.

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