Wednesday, September 8, 2004


It's a helpful little acronym that I've crafted that has become somewhat of a mantra for me these days. Whether it was in my early days of cross country, throughout my Tae Kwon Do training or my recent zealous venture in biking, the expression/motto is very similar:

Drive On Through

When doing hills training in cross country, I remember the coach telling us, "Attack the hill, gain speed, and then run through the hill" (meaning that we not slow down at the top of the hill but to regain our pace on the other side. We were to see ourselves on the other side of the hill. In Tae Kwon Do, my instructor would tell me - as I hurt my knuckles on another set of boards, "You need to see your fists three inches past the board. Punch through the board." And in cycling, I have to remind myself on the hilly terrain of Minnesota highways, "Drive through the hill; don't slow down at the top but regain your pace on the other side. See yourself on the other side."

I have witnessed numerous individuals in the past - including myself - that have given up, slowed down, and walked away when the going got tough... and usually the giving up, slowing down and walking away occurred just short of reaching the top and seeing the other side. Researchers with athletic enhancement have shown that visualization of one's goal (cutting the tape in record time, nailing the perfect dive, completing a marathon, etc.) greatly increases one's performance. It's amazing the human tenacity and determination that can occur if given the opportunity to envision all of one's possibilities.

There have been times that I've wanted to quit or back away (and some have been some pivotal moments in my life), but I've always and fondly remembered the thoughts of my father on this subject. He would say (paraphrased), "Don't start something you're not going to finish. Even the taste of defeat can be digested over the taste of regret; regret in never knowing how it all would have all turned out."

You, my friend, most likely have issues and situations today that may seem insurmountable; we each have our moments of trials and triumph. Often times the weariness of these situations and issues come from trying to live out our life one week in advance. Part of the DOT philosophy, as my cross country coach would remind us, is focusing solely on the hill ahead, not the next five to follow. Drive on through your present situation today, for tomorrow will bring new trials and triumphs. [It even works for the ongoing saga of stay-at-home fathers and mothers, such as myself.] Live your life between this particular sunrise and sunset; the past is unchangeable and the future is unpredictable. But every moment today, lived to its fullest and every challenge addressed head-on (drive on through) makes every past day a memorable moment and every future day a welcomed direction and perspective.

Look at your present situtation, develop all the possible outcomes, choose the one that is most favorable for all involved and drive on through. Don't sedate it or ignore it - face your challenge in front of you and drive on through with all the faith and compassion and hope you can muster at this one moment. The momentary pain or struggle will be worth it when you see yourself at the top, looking back at the challenge you just crested and the future that lies ahead.

Post Note: To my brother, Rev. Lt. Dan Hoedl, who leaves today for his second tour of duty in Iraq, I offer this reflection to you. See your mission, gain speed and keep going... We will see you soon enough in early spring of 2005. Godspeed and DOT in all your journeys until you return safely.

hoedl's haven
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