Keith Wishum: You can’t finish what you don’t start

Published 4:25 pm Monday, July 18, 2016

It started as a vague notion; something two high school boys thought might be fun — hiking the Georgia part of the Appalachian Trail. They romanticized for days about living in the woods for weeks — Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett exploring the wilderness. But it was just talk. They never went hiking.
For 25 years, though, the idea nagged one of the boys, until, at age 42, he decided he really would walk the Georgia AT. He gathered information, recruited others to make the trek, bought equipment, and set a date.
The troop set out on a bright June day in 1999. And failed miserably!
Oh, not all of them. Three of them finished the 75 miles. But two had to drop out because of illness. One was the boy who had been waiting for 25 years for that hike.
It just goes to show what happens when we chase silly dreams, right? You get excited about some grand goal only to have your hopes crushed.
Consequently, many of us never start the walk. We are too afraid we won’t finish. Too terrified of failure. So, we don’t try. We don’t even tell anyone of our dreams. That way we can’t be embarrassed. We can’t fail.
At the first of each year, many people make resolutions to improve their lives in some way in the coming year. By mid-year, many of those resolutions are forgotten. So some say it’s foolish to make them. Why set goals that won’t be reached?
I know what our hiker friend would say. He didn’t succeed on his first try, but he did get started. He did hike 20 miles of beautiful mountain trail where relatively few have walked. He also went back. In the next summers, he completed all of the Georgia trail, plus 150 miles of the AT in North Carolina and Tennessee.
While hiking may not be important to you, success in something is. And success begins with a beginning. Good intentions won’t walk the trail. There must be a plan. And there must be a first step.
What is it that you’ve been meaning to do for a long time to make your life better? Why not get started today? You may not finish all the journeys you begin, but you certainly will not complete any of the ones that you don’t start.
“All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty” (Proverbs 14:23)

Keith Wishum is  minister, Williams Road Church of Christ.