“Genuine love … is demanding. But its beauty lies precisely in the demands it makes. Only those able to make demands on themselves in the name of love can then demand love from others.”
Saint John Paul II
When on a beach vacation with children, one learns over time that editing the beach supplies becomes a necessity, particularly as the number of children increases. But even the most streamlined beach parent of four little ones has at least 2 chairs, 1-2 umbrellas, some collection of shovels and buckets, an inane amount of snacks and water bottles, not to mention the actual children who need to be transported to the beach. Fortunately, the house we rented came with a cart upon which all of these accoutrement could be transported. Unfortunately, North Carolina decided to build up the dunes and rebuild a set of 40 steep stairs that one needs to lug said cart down and even worse, lug it back up at the end of the day. After a fun and exhausting first day by the ocean, I approached the bottom of the staircase with the cart, surveying my veritable mountain to climb. Two of my children asked in unison “Can you do that dad?” and no less than 30 other beach bystanders’ stares communicated the same message. With an epic amount of sweat, grunts that weren’t quite human, and at a snails’ pace, I brought the cart up one painful step at a time. However after a week, my daily adventure was still a challenge, but my confidence combined with some learnings along the way made it more than doable.
At my required mid-climb break on that final day, I thought about how the stairway compared to my journey of leadership and faith. How often do I accomplish the unthinkable climb, only to be frustrated or fatigued by the fact that I have to do it again the next day? Why do I expect my walk with the Lord to reach a pinnacle that doesn’t continue to require effort? The more I choose to climb, the stronger and better I will get, but do I remember that the stairway never actually goes away? In fact, the real challenge of faith and leadership is not simply to reach the first summit, but to see how high I can continue to climb. Prayers for your stairs this week.