The first definition of milestone is a marker in a series placed along a route, providing reassuring measures of distance and the confirmation that someone is traveling in the right direction. We also have milestones of elapsed time in our lives, those goals that are achieved only by staying alive, such as birthdays. Looking at a picture of me on the milestone of my first birthday, either I was easily upset by anything or at that young age, I already had misgivings about growing old.

Stumbling blocks are milestones too. Stumbling blocks become milestones when we survive the initial fall, right ourselves, then continue on a while before looking back and taking stock of our progress since the misstep. I see my father’s death in such a light. He was sixty and I was only a formative fifteen. Though my father’s death was a stumbling block at the time, later on, recollections of him became memory stones joined together like supportive blocks for a strong foundation of life.

A milestone in friendship is reached when someone rescues us at a trying time and helps us to move forward–like a series of stepping stones that suddenly become apparent in the swirling eddies of a treacherous stream we are attempting to cross.

Milestones can represent more than just their original measure of land’s length and breadth. They are also measures of something much greater: life.

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