Quitting (part 1 of 3)

Have you ever wanted to quit?

As a kid growing up we didn't have much in the way of material goods. Dad was a school teacher and Mom stayed home to be sure the four of us got started off on the right foot. In an effort to stretch our family dollars as far as they'd go, resourcefulness became one of my Dad's great qualities.

In keeping with family ingenuity, we decided one time that it would be nice to build a barbecue pit in the back yard—out of used bricks that Dad and I collected from a vacant lot. My job was to knock the old mortar off the bricks. I worked an eternity in my third grade sense of time, swinging the hammer onto a cold chisel positioned against the mortar.

With one fateful swing, my hammer glanced off the chisel. My middle knuckle and the brick met in a mismatched duel.

It was my first experience of getting dizzy with pain. The skin and the blood and the dirt and the mortar all mixed together—out behind the garage.

I left the tools beside the brick pile and went inside. Mom patched me up and Dad reassured me, "You're doing a good job and making great progress." I didn't say it, but inside I wanted to quit. But that wasn't an option. I eventually finished and Dad and I built a nice barbecue pit behind our house on Clegurne Rd.

I am indebted to my folks for making sure I learned the value of finishing a task and doing it right. Even today—many years later—the scar on my middle knuckle reminds me of an incident that seared into my mind this invaluable maxim: Stopping short is not an option.

We are tempted to stop short all the time and in various endeavors. What about matters of belief? That's next.