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Monday, May 01, 2017
Finishing Well by Eleanor Shepherd
countdown is on. Today is May 1 and by July 1, I will no longer complete the
questions on the survey forms from Survey Monkey by ticking the box saying
“employed full time.” I will be officially retired and this time it is my intention to finally retreat to the quietness of my home office where I can write at my leisure. My only
pressure will be deadlines for articles that I hope will be accepted by
magazines and e-zines or for the next book that I plan to finish.
the Internet to find some helpful information about finishing well, I came
across a few ideas from an article by Steven Cole on Bible.org about how to
finish well. They come from 2 Timothy 4: 7.
well means that we have fought the good fight. Well, I am glad the verse does
not say that we have to have won the good fight, because I know that while I
have engaged in facing some of the challenges that I have come my way, I have
not always been victorious. I guess the important thing was that I was willing
to engage in the combat, when it was necessary and not that I always be
A book that
my research on finishing well took me to was one by Bob Buford who approached
the topic of finishing well by chronicling the stories of several high profile
people who were examples of those who finished well. His premise seems to be
that to finish well, one shifts from striving for success to seeking for
significance. To me that seems quite a profound discovery and one that helps me
to put into context my lack of 100% success in my battles.
measure of finishing well, according to Steven Cole is not dropping out of the
course, but staying to the end. I have to admit that there have been times when
I have been tempted just to give it all up, particularly with some of the
challenges that I have faced in the last year. I recognize I suffer from
decreased stamina that seems to accompany aging, and a few health concerns. Thus I have longed at times to just
find that when I feel that I just cannot continue any longer, someone will come
along and offer words of encouragement or do something that makes me realize
that it is all worth while, and I do love what I am doing. A concrete example
was Saturday morning when I was at the church to help out with a program we
have for children. The father of one of the children came in with armloads of
roses for the other parents. He presented me with a huge bouquet of roses that
I placed in a vase in my office, breathing in their fragrance, with gratitude for
aspect of finishing well suggested by this verse, according to Steven is
keeping the faith. Actually he goes on to describe keeping the faith as knowing
what you believe and sharing it. To keep the faith we need to give it away.
This is just another one of those paradoxes of the Christian life that we find
so true. There is nothing that gives me more joy than being able to share with
others the way that God has been so faithful to me and to hear their stories of
His faithfulness to them or their questions that we can explore together.
However, this is something that will go on beyond my retirement day and I can
take it with me into my next chapter. To finish well this one will prepare me to
begin well the next one. I can hardly wait!
Word Guild Awards
Word Guild Awards
Shepherd from Pointe Claire, Quebec has more than 90 articles published in
Canada, France, the U.S.A., Belgium, Switzerland and New
Zealand. Thirty years with The Salvation Army in Canada and France including
ministry in Africa, Europe, Haiti and the Caribbean furnished material for her
Award winning book, More Questions than Answers, Sharing Faith by Listening.
Eleanor works as a pastor in Montreal with The Salvaton Army.