As I was leaving my friend’s house once years ago, he said to me, “If something happens on the road between here and the halfway point, call me and I’ll come get you. Once you get halfway, call someone from home.” It sounded strange to me until he explained it. Fortunately, nothing happened, and I returned home with no complications.
Another time I was running a 5k which I had never done before, nor since. I remember standing at the starting line wondering if I would make it the entire course. When I had passed the halfway point, though tired, I knew I would finish. I finished the race with no complications.
Here we are today at the halfway point of Great Lent. Looking back to day one, you may have wondered, especially if this is the first time you are taking Great Lent seriously, whether you would complete the entire course of the fast. What is so important about the halfway point?
With any task, once you have reached the halfway point, something important occurs, not in the course but in your attitude. By the time you reach the halfway point, you realize there is less course in front of you than behind you. You actually gain strength and encouragement when you realize you already finished more than what is remaining. It doesn’t mean you won’t grow tired, but now you can without hesitation tell yourself, “You’ve already gone further than this, you can get through the rest,” so you begin to look ahead instead of back.
That was the point my friend was trying to teach me. Going the distance is a combination of endurance and attitude. It can even be easier to finish than to start once we pass the halfway point. In a 5k run or road trip, it is easier to finish that to return to the beginning. So today, we look ahead and remind ourselves, what’s left is less than we have already finished. We can do it. Next stop is the end of Great Lent and the joy of Holy Week and Pascha. Get through today and tomorrow we look at the finish line, the Cross of Christ.