Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Beware of False Summits ; A Christian Science Perspective on Daily Life

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Beware of False Summits ; A Christian Science Perspective on Daily Life

Article excerpt

We called the 4-1/2-mile route the Run of the False Summits. It was hilly, and just when you thought you'd made it up what surely was the last big hill, around the corner would be another.

This became a metaphor: Beware the false summit. Don't start coasting when you think the hard work is over.

In climbing terms, a false summit is a high point on a mountain that looks like the top while you're climbing it, but when you get there, you realize there's more to go. Even though it's easy to see the peak of a mountain from a distance, it's not so simple when you're close to it.

During the time I was doing this run, I was also working at an intense job that required three to four days of almost around-the- clock work and then a couple of days off before beginning it all over again. Often just when my colleagues and I thought the tough moments were over, something else would arise and require our best thinking once again.

I frequently thought of the false summit run and not wanting to give up when the unexpected hill loomed ahead. I needed to maintain a spiritual focus throughout the day, and this helped me become less prone to wearing out or feeling overcome with fatigue. And I became more aware of God's presence with me.

Even when the challenges seemed to be over for the day, I wouldn't let myself mentally check out. I wanted to be prepared for whatever might come my way, and I found that the best way to do this was to practice embracing the challenges and the coasting times with the same expectancy to see what God was unfolding for the moment.

It is a spiritual sense of things that neutralizes the feeling of fluctuating between hard times and easy times. Then, in place of the emotional ups and downs comes a calm sense that God is driving the ship - and that our task is to enjoy the ride.

Understanding God, good, as the impulse for all my activity meant that I had something more constant to rely on than personal effort - which seemed vulnerable to being worn out and used up. …

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