Getting Ahead: ‘Resting on your laurels’


As a boy I often heard a phrase: “resting on your laurels.” This phrase was taken from being awarded a laurel wreath, which is a circular wreath made of interlocking branches and leaves of a bay laurel, an aromatic broadleaf evergreen.

In Greek mythology, Apollo is represented wearing a laurel wreath on his head. In ancient Greece, wreaths were awarded to victors, both in athletic competitions and in poetic meets; in Rome they were symbols of martial victory, crowning a successful commander during his triumph.

This expression refers to someone relying entirely on long-past successes for continued fame or recognition.

As I reflect on my life I have had a few successes. While I was in school I was honored in athletics, music and named to the national honor society. I guess you could liken those honors to being awarded a laurel wreath. I know that it really felt good when I received recognition for these achievements.

Then I was married and started a family, and things sure did change. I found that even though my past achievements were a good foundation to build my life on, they would not provide me with food, clothing and shelter.

How many times do we come up to the challenges of another season in our life, and rest on our laurels? Is there a time to quit, or do we keep striving to do better? Is the phrase “resting on your laurels” a compliment, or does it mean that we have decided to check out?

These and other life questions will be addressed Sunday morning as “The Gathering Place Family” meets in the Washington High School Library for Bible Study at 9:30 a.m. and in the gymnasium at 10 a.m. for our Pre-Service Connection where we enjoy coffee, juice and donuts. Our Worship Service and Children’s Church then begins at 10:30 at 120 W. Court St. in Washington C.H.

By John G. Pfeifer

Religion Columnist

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