Don’t quit

The days are getting shorter, the moon glowing on my evening walk and still there in the early morning. It’s been high and bright and beautiful.

A few touches of cool. A return to school and hurry and doing.

So much hurry ahead and my steps feel slow this year.

It all just circles ’round, doesn’t it?

It’s been a summer of good-byes. First my mama, and then four other funerals at my church. I’ve grieved with families on the anniversary of their own good-byes. I’m praying for some who are right now facing such hard, heavy battles.

My neighbor is living his last days. Around the clock visitors and lights on in the wee hours of the morning. He’ll never plant his lovely garden again or laugh at our dog’s antics or offer me a bag of okra. He’ll never wave at me again on my evening walks.

I am filled to the brim with good-bye.

One of the funerals I attended was for a 98-year-old man in our church. A dear man who lived his life honorably, with purpose and good humor. A man who knew his Bible and his God. One of his favorite ways to end a conversation was with the admonition, “Don’t quit.”

And I have been repeating those words.

Don’t quit.

My children are playing soccer again. The work is good for them–the training, the running, the teamwork. But there is one thing I really want them to learn.

Don’t quit.

When you are exhausted, when it feels like you cannot finish, when there is no way to win. When you are discouraged or disheartened. When you lose your desire to finish the task or even take the next step. When you are wronged and nothing seems fair. When you are dismally failing and so disappointed in yourself or in your teammates.

Don’t quit.

And God is kneading my heart, performing CPR on my soul.

He is meeting me here. Right here in this weariness.

He is whispering, “I am with you. I will help you. Don’t quit.”

Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 1 Timothy 6:12

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.  Hebrews 12:1