The Fourth Quarter

It Starts With a Spark

 

The fourth quarter. It is the same as the preceding quarters in terms of time and length, but it very well may be the most important quarter of all.  It is the quarter where, sometimes, the impossible becomes possible.  The buzzer beater.  The Hail Mary pass.  Higher than expected earnings.  Increased profit margins.  Victory and defeat vie for dominance in the fourth quarter.

In sports, business, academia, and other institutes that mark time in quarters, there are definitive beginnings, endings, and actions that take place in each quarter.  In life, we have no idea when we have entered the fourth, and final, quarter of our lives, we only have the calendar year to alert us when we have entered the fourth quarter of a calendar year.  With the arrival of October, we have entered the fourth quarter of 2017.

As we enter this last quarter, I find myself wondering what will happen in the final days, weeks, and months of this year.  Victory or defeat?  Success or failure?  Profits or losses?  A little bit of both?  As I both look back and look ahead, I don’t know what to expect this quarter.  The three previous quarters that led me here have left me with parts of my life and of myself that I no longer recognize.

I have felt somewhat like a stranger in a stranger land.  2017 has served up some unexpected twists and turns, and I have felt lost and adrift.  Thankfully, though, I am starting to find my way once again, and the spark that I lost has been ignited once more.

As I regain my footing on new terrain, I may not know the exact steps I need to take, but I do know one thing.  This fourth quarter will find me doing what I have done so many times in the past.  I will continue to build on what is working well and improve the things that are not, and I am beginning to look to the future with more hope than fear.  It is not always as easy as it sounds, but it is always necessary.

When I trail run, no matter how tired I am, I always finish strong by sprinting the last part back to my car. As I emerged from the woods and ran hard toward the finish this morning, I thought to myself that this is exactly how I want and need to end this last quarter.  Sprinting toward the end.  Finishing strong.  Rising up as the whole damn fire.

That’s another story. . .

 

 

 



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