These two haiku posted just before this post, may be good poetry, but not a victory for me. The first haiku was a declaration of my recent slump. I’m weighed down by sadness, loss, unfulfilled dreams, and a stupid illness out of the blue. I have no idea what is next or ahead. (Why on earth would I want to post this? No idea.) The second haiku expressed the joy of loving and being loved, and not wanting love and life to end.
It was then that I remembered a small victory.
In my melancholy opinion, my life hasn’t been made up of big victories. (God may choose to differ.) But rather, a long winding road dotted with small victories.
A few years ago, I received an email telling me that the warranty on my laptop expired. Last weekend, I received another email with a heftier expiration. It said that the manufacturer couldn’t provide any replacement parts. No support. No parts. In other words, if my PC experiences an internal meltdown, I can use it for a bookend. (It appears that my PC runs by God’s grace alone; a new PC is not an option right now.)
Well, I sat there thinking. My PC has expired twice, not just once, but twice. I’ll show them! (Like changing into the Hulk, the nerd in me came out full force.) I should have hesitated, but the nerd in me did not. I wiped it clean and reinstalled Windows 10 (This Pentium dinosaur came with Windows 7). Defragged the disk. Purged the registry. Reinstalled only appropriate software.
The oil and sweat from my hands have eaten away the silver color on either side of the trackpad. The space bar is worn with a high shine where I mash it with my left thumb. The “F” and “J” keys are “thinking” keys. My index fingers have tapped them to a high shine while I wait and think about what to write next. (Like I’m doing this minute.)
Then it hit me. I did it again. Did I trash my Halo game files? Whew! I backed up my game files. I reinstalled Halo: Combat Evolved for the millionth time. (Obviously, not the first time I’ve done this. Mentioned somewhere in an earlier post, I think.) Look, I’ve been playing the original Halo since Halo 2003. I can prove it. (See photo.)
I couldn’t bear to start Halo from the beginning again. I’ve had to do that too many times on too many laptops. Need I remind you of the obvious: I’ve never played Halo to the end. (I know, it is 2016. I know you are laughing. Don’t remind me. I’m an old Galaga shooter who refuses to quit! Note: For those of you who think an old guy like me can’t be an exceptional nerd and part-time gamer, may I remind you that Galaga was released in 1979. And when I was working, I was a tech writer by trade and great with computer stuff. Only God can bring the right work; I refuse to retire. There must be more. But what?)
You see, I was close. Finally, I wiped out the Flood. I was on the last leg. The ship was about to blow up. I ran to the only operable M 12 Warthog LRV and got in the driver’s seat. (With Cortana talking my ear off, of course.) The clock was ticking.
It was the following weekend that I reinstalled the OS. PC was up and running again. I was writing. (Not sure why at this point.) I needed a break. One more try. I fired up Halo. It was time to beat the clock in the Warthog.
Amazing. I did it.
Thirteen years isn’t bad. I finished it. (I watched the credits roll to make sure there wasn’t a hidden Elite or Hunter waiting to destroy my small victory.)
God has designed your race specifically for you. My path, my course is mine. Yours is yours. Be thankful for the small victories. They all count. Life is a gift from God.
I’m trying very hard to accept the fact that I may not get to do the two things I wanted to do most: pastor/teach in a church and write for a living. I may do these things with excellence. But some dreams may not be on the journey the Lord has set for me. The fact is that God provides for me without fail. For example, when I was a soldier for twenty years or when I was a technical writer.
The Apostle Paul said in part, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:6-8 NKJV)
Please listen carefully. The “crown of righteousness” Paul mentioned is a crown of righteousness because of the finished work Jesus did on the Cross; the “righteousness” has absolutely nothing to do with what Paul did or didn’t do. Nothing to do with his (or our) failures or victories (big or small) has to do with the gift of righteousness Jesus has given us by faith. (If you believe Jesus is Lord, it is counted as righteousness for you before God.) The gift of righteousness is His gift to you.
I’m trying to run my race. No idea what I’m doing at this point, but I plan to continue to fight the good fight and finish the race. Why? I may not know what is next, but I’m not dead.
Run your race no matter what. It counts for eternity. Be thankful for the small victories.