Easter Joy…how quickly I can forget even a week later as hurts, frustrations and weariness cloud my thoughts and feelings. Little things – something someone said to hurt me, something I worked hard on not recognized, feeling overworked or overwhelmed – can feel like splinters or thorns, like one step forward, two steps back – and I forget to focus on the positive things in my life, how far I’ve come, and the big picture: that we are all striving to get to heaven one day, where God has saved a place for us. I can’t help but think of the apostles, all hiding in a room together after Jesus died, afraid, targets on their backs, without their leader. The picture was painted so well by the TV movie last Easter, “A.D. The Bible Continues” in which the apostles, even Peter and Paul, argued over what to do and where to go after Jesus’ death. Here they had seen the Lord in person, were witnesses to His resurrection, and they too still let petty personality differences and their fears get in the way. Yet through their trials and tribulations, they kept working hard to spread the Word and build the Kingdom, knowing their reward would be eternal life with God. St. Paul refers often in his writings to life here on earth as running a race, reminding us to keep our eyes on the prize. “Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising shame, and has set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Heb 12:1-2), and “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 3:14). We each have our own race to run, our own crosses to bear. Sometimes it seems like it’s too hard, there’s too far to go in too little time, other people get in the way, I’m falling behind, I’ll never get there. That’s when I just have to keep putting one foot in front of another and focus on the real finish line.