It was always an exciting time to get to spend some time with my Dad. Like most families, we were all busy. He worked long hours so that my Mom didn't have to work. Whenever we had something planned together, I knew it was going to be something special.
This particular day, we were going to hike together down a country road which began at my grandmothers house and ended a couple of miles away at a Country Store that my Great Uncle owned and operated at the time. If we could make the entire trip, my reward was to be able to get a Coke and Ice Cream at my Great Uncle's store. It couldn't get any better than that.
I can remember the seemingly long journey down the road. Along the way, we talked about all the different people that lived in the houses we passed and what my Dad may have known about them. I can remember that we passed an old, run-down house that was about to fall from decay. It flashed through my mind who may have lived there and what had happened for the house to be in such poor shape. We passed an old logging company and admired all the logs that were cut and trimmed and the massive trucks that delivered them. We chased off a few stray dogs that didn't appreciate us approaching their territory. We even relived my Dad's story as a young boy when he mentioned he was playing at this logging company and almost got struck by lightening.
It was a long hike to my Uncle's store, and I was beginning to get tired, but there was something special about the journey itself. Knowing that I had this great reward at the end of the journey made the journey seem more bearable. I knew that I had a nice, cold Nutty Buddy or Fudge-Sickle awaiting me at the end, so any adversity I faced along the hike with sore feet or shortness of breath was going to be all worth it when I reached the finish line.
Boy, was I right. Nothing tasted so good as that cold ice cream. I'm sure it probably melted all over me, but I didn't care. I was hot and tired from the long journey and I was enjoying my reward. What we had discussed on the journey or the pain I had felt just didn't matter anymore. I had reached my goal and received my reward.
It often helps me during life's "journey" to realize that I have a heavenly reward awaiting me at the end, whenever that end might be. Life is tough. Let's not kid anyone. Sometimes our hike through life is a struggle, whether it be health issues, financial issues, relationship issues or whatever life "throws" at us. More often than not, we become defeated and even depressed and convince ourselves that we're not going to make it.
It's at these times that I make a point to remember to fall in love with the Journey itself and that as down as I may be; as defeated as I sometimes may feel; when I do finally reach the finish line, my heavenly reward will make life's journey seem all worth it. After I have fought the good fight, the rewards will be more than I could even imagine. There's something liberating about knowing that you may lose a few battles along the way, but you've already won the war. Keeping my eye on the finish line, just as I did that hot summer day hiking to my Uncle's Store makes the journey seem more bearable.