What else could get you to stop and think before you act? And stay in focus through each move you make? Keep you accountable for every folly and pleasure along the way? Or provide a marker here and there to help you remember later how you got where you are and the price you paid? What better defines the worth and meaning of the prize? —E M B R A C E   T H E   H U R D L E— August 1988

    COMMENT:  [When I think of the barriers or limitations in my life and the process I have used in dealing with many of them, I think of runners in a hurdles’ competition.  A rather natural image, I suppose.

    The way I see it, the hurdles (or obstacles or challenges) that we overcome in our lives are a sort of journey in themselves. Overcoming them leads us somewhere we have not been before. And often, in retrospect, we realize that we have ended up somewhere we did not intend to go but needed to go.

    I don’t like hurdles. Yet I know they will often lead me to more happiness and a stronger character if I will squarely face the pain and the inconvenience they offer me; if I will accept their challenge and make good effort in meeting it. And here is a pleasantly annoying thought: we often can grow even if we but try to deal with the hurdles, regardless of the outcome.

    And I suppose that hurdles are, in the end, a gift. They must be a gift; otherwise why would I almost always find that I am changed for the better because of them?

    St. Paul said something whose meaning remained a complete mystery to me until I started working on this reflection. I could make no sense of his words. Really zilch. He said that “in weakness power reaches perfection.” Now come on and what the heck…?!

    But my thinking about hurdles has helped me conclude that the hurdles themselves and the internal struggles they cause represent that “weakness” to which Paul refers. And overcoming the hurdles is that “power reaching perfection.” For it is in overcoming various hurdles in life that the strength of one’s spirit and character can become so much greater than it was before; in other words, that the power of one’s own inner strength reaches what Paul calls “perfection” (i.e. the perfect embodiment of it).  rt]

    Photo Credits Text: Talarico / Calligraphy: DuBosch / Photography: Bachhuber