Don’t Camp Out On It

Are you satisfied?

I’ve written the words before.  

The old Irish pastor had leaned over the pulpit in the little sanctuary—the same one in which the Lovely Lady and I had made promises to each other, years prior.  It seemed to me then that the old fellow was leaning right down into my face and directing the question solely to me.

Twenty years on, it still seems like that to me.

I had not only been married in that room, but I had carried my first-born child proudly in to sit with my friends there.  My second child followed a couple of years later.  I had sung with the choir, played the piano a time or two, and even preached when the opportunity arose.

Life was good.

This was as fine a place as any to settle.  I was satisfied.


Who did this old Irishman think he was, rocking my boat?  Because, that’s what he was doing.  As he spoke, a restlessness grew in me.  

It was high time I was moving on down the road!  High time.

I’m still not satisfied.  Not yet.

There is more along this road.  As long as the journey has been to this point, there is still a fair distance to go.

There is more along this road—still a fair distance to go. Click To Tweet

I can’t help but remember the lesson I learned the first time I played the piano at the Lovely Lady’s home in the days when we were dating.  Her Mom had been a piano teacher for many years.  I was to learn that it was an identity she couldn’t leave behind with her afternoon piano lessons.

I sat down to the beautiful Chickering grand piano in the living room as my future bride and mother-in-law labored in the kitchen before supper on that evening.  Glancing along the page of classical music before me, I decided it was worth taking the chance and began to play.

I had nothing to be ashamed of for the first few lines of the song, holding my own in picking out the melody and counter-melody.  I even did a fair job of reaching the bass notes along the way.  

Then, looking ahead, I saw a cluster of notes.

Uh-Oh!  I really didn’t like chords all that much.  I usually got a note or two wrong in them and it never came out quite right.  

My brain worked to comprehend the structure of the chord as I finished up the running notes leading up to it.

Miracle of miracles!  I hit every note right in the chord!  Every one.

It was beautiful!  Beautiful!

camp-1551078_640I reveled in the victory!  What a gorgeous chord!  Listen to that!  

Well?  Don’t camp out on it!  

The voice came from the kitchen.  Ever the teacher, the dear lady felt the need to encourage me along on my way, as she did with all her students who took longer than they should to move on.  

I wasn’t done yet.  There was still more music to be played.  A lot more.  For me to stop and revel in my accomplishment would actually diminish what was to come.

A friend shared a short quote this afternoon.  I read the words and felt that restlessness again—the same restlessness I felt twenty years ago when the old Irish preacher asked the question.  You may read the quote below for yourself.

I think perhaps the Apostle said it a little more accurately when he assured his readers that the One who had begun the work in them wouldn’t stop until it was completely finished.  (Philippians 1:6)

What is in the past, impressive as it may be, is simply prelude to the future.  If we stop and camp out to revel in the accomplishment, we may forget to move on and the song will never be completed.  

The Great Composer has a masterpiece for every one of us to make our way through.  Every chord and every note—loud or soft, pretty and resonant, or strident and bombastic—will sound before the end.

The journey is not complete.  It’s not time to set up camp.  

Not yet.

The journey is not complete. It's not time to set up camp. Not yet. Click To Tweet

The old preacher’s question still stands.

Well, are we?




You didn’t come this far to only come this far.
(Mike Foster ~ American author/teacher)


Be still my soul:  Thy God doth undertake
To guide the future, as He has the past.
(from Be Still My Soul ~ ca. 1752 ~ Katharina A. von Schlegel)


What’s past is prologue.
(from The Tempest ~ William Shakespeare ~ English poet ~ 1564-1616)



© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2016. All Rights Reserved.

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