Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Today, while recovering from surgery, I watched some old news reel footage of London after the bombings of World War II. I had heard stories about the Blitz and what the people of England endured. I will be honest, much of what I remember from World War II was from history books or the occassional film like Mrs. Miniver. Yet, there is something to be said about watching actual film footage and how a picture is truly worth a thousand words. The above photograph of St. Paul's Cathedral (standing proudly in the London dawn after another night's bombing) is one such photo.
The photograph is so powerful -- dramatic and beautiful, evoking not just the frightening asepct of war and the devastation it wrought upon London and its people, but also the hope and faith of a new day and the promise that within each of us is the capacity to withstand trials and tribulations -- whether they are physical or social. Within the very fiber of our beings is this iron will capacity for determination and strength to greet the dawn with courage and a keen desire to persevere.
I have given a great deal of thought of late to perseverance and find it such a admirable yet often overlooked trait each of us possesses. Very much an unspoken hero, PERSEVERANCE emanates from our soul. It is a constant friend in times of despair or uncertainty. It is that little voice whispering 'you can do it'. At times we forget its importance in our lives and may even question if it is an attribute we possess to any degree. We often admire others for their courage and fail to realize that it exists in all of us, though we may not see it. After all, it is usually only when dire circumstances occur that we give it any particular attention.
Each of us prays for courage when tested by life or faced with a mountain we fear we may not be able to climb, a storm we may not be able to weather. What I have come to recognize is that courage and perseverance go hand-in-hand, prompted and strengthened by faith as well as the undeniable essence that makes us human beings. True, it is perseverance which encourages us to believe in peace over war, goodness over evil, and that light WILL conquer darkness...always. But it is also there in times of quiet introspection and day-to-day living.
The quality of perseverance is what enables a preschooler to learn how to tie their shoe. It is the steadfast spotter willing us to practice a sport until one is skilled and proficient at it. It is the silent voice of your spirit which encourages you to write that book, paint a picture, or participate in a charity run. And like those proud Brits who endured the Blitz, perseverance enabled them to work together and not only survive the ravages of war, but rebuild their beautiful and historic London. Perseverance has been with us since time began and continues to endure, sometimes against all odds. It desires nothing more than to help people achieve their potential and face challenges all over the world. Whether that challenge is the pursuit of education, a career goal, financial stability, or physical health -- we must all recognize and be grateful for its existence and guidance.
Today, I recognize its presence in my life as a benevolent blessing to the spirit of man from God, and a silent friend who has not only walked beside me during some very dark moments but encouraged me to prevail. I am thankful that as I get older, the need to persevere and face life's challenges has not diminished but become stronger. At the same time I am reminded of the saying that it isn't the destination that is important, but the journey itself. After all, there are times when despite our courage and perseverance we may not achieve the outcome we desire. Some dreams will remain elusive. Yet, the outcome should NOT diminish the effort. It is taking that first step...no matter the odds...that helps us to grow individually and collectively, to learn not only about the world but what we are capable of doing for the greater good, and to understand perserverance is truly the silent voice of God deep inside us willing us to believe in the impossible and make wondrous things happen.