When I saw the finish line as I was running down the tunnel at Notre Dame Stadium, and knew that I was only about 100 yards away from the end, I lost all control of my emotions and began just sobbing. I was physically and mentally fatigued to a point that I had never in my life experienced. Adding that to the joy I felt in anticipation of my accomplishment against all odds (and it was over 80 degrees,) I was a mess. I crumbled. I truly gave all I had to give, and when it demanded even more, I found it and gave it too. I was at a deficit of “it.”
Fast forward 5 years.
My wife is approaching a similar finish line. Ironically enough, in the same location. This weekend, Ashlie Collier graduates with a Law Degree from the University of Notre Dame Law School. She did it while being a mom of three (giving birth ten weeks early while in school) and an amazing, loving, supportive wife. I wish there was a better word than proud, to describe how I feel about her incredible achievement. Since she began pursuing a career in law, I have learned more about our determination, grit, sacrifice, grace, blessing, tragedy, healing, faith, and providence than I thought was possible. What makes what we learned exponentially more, is that we were not alone. Our families, our church, our friends, our children, all made these sacrifices too. We weren’t the only ones struggling to finish what we started. They had to put up with our unavailability, childcare, emergencies, and crises too, and the pressure of putting everyone though all of this, made the burden of completing this enormous undertaking incredibly heavy. If we failed, we would have let everyone down. Our family. One another. Day after day, one foot in front of the other. Just keep going. Don’t give up.
Friends, hear me out on this. You will never regret being courageous. Count the cost. Have passion. Dare to challenge yourself. You are capable of more than you think. And when it asks you to give all you have, you will manage to find more and give that too, because that’s what it takes. It’s possible, but only the courageous will ever know.
Today, the finish line is in sight, and the relief of all of the pressure being lifted is reminding me of running through that tunnel, onto the field. The same tunnel that Ashile will process through with her classmates onto the same field. My tears are returning for the same reasons. At several times we thought we might not make it. We barely even started. In fact, we had pretty much decided that it would take too long, be too hard, and we weren’t the kind of people who could accomplish something of that magnitude. We are so humbled to have been courageous enough to take a chance on faith, and on ourselves. It’s scary to think we almost didn’t do it. When God is calling you to something that seems impossible, but barriers start to get broken down just by casually investigating it, that’s when you know you must pursue it. Detour. Go. Now.
She did it.
We did it.
He did it.