The crucible ended on Wednesday, or maybe on Thursday when the professors had to have our grades finalized. And finals week was mercifully over.Over the course of finals, I kept thinking about a billboard I drive past sometimes. It says something like, “the task ahead of you is never greater than the strength within you.” And I’ve never been sure what to make of it. I tend to think it’s all wrong.
I’ve never been to boot camp, but I don’t think that’s the thought process going on. And I’ve never done a triathlon, but I don’t think the billboard works there either. And I have never played in the fourth quarter of an NBA finals game . . .
In all of these contexts, one must rise to the occasion. And if you come out alive, victorious, you leave with more than you started with – you have encountered something, overcome, and become more. You are pushed to the very edge of your ability, and then a little bit farther. Reached your limit, and then surpassed it. The strength within you may not be sufficient, but in the crucible, you might be stretched into more than you were. In the struggle, we can become.
I believe that’s the point of finals week, and really all of those other things too. If it wasn’t, why would we cram all those exams into two days? If it was just about getting information, we could just read some books over winter break. Perhaps we are given things which we are indeed not enough to face. And here, despite the promises of the billboard, we can grow. Perhaps this is the space for the Spirit to make us into that which we would become.