The world was awed last week when 64-year-old Diana Nyad swam 110 miles from Cuba to Florida. What awed me was that this woman never gave up. This swim was her fifth attempt. A person with less gumption would have said after the fourth try, Why bother? or It’s impossible. Now Diana serves as a model in perseverance. She shows that human beings are capable of performing remarkable feats if they only keep at it. Discouragement and lack of self-confidence can extinguish our dreams if we let them.
Being successful can entail a number of failures first. Those who have the most home runs probably also have the most strike outs. Thomas Edison invented the light bulb only after numerous trials. An optimist, Edison claimed that his failures taught him something. He said, “We now know a thousand ways not to build a light bulb.” He also said, ““Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” Right now I’m involved in a mission to market my novel, The Fisherman’s Wife, without paying thousands of dollars to do so. Many of the avenues I’ve tried so far haven’t panned out. But I can’t quit. I must keep hoping that somehow the book will land in hands that will make it a bestseller, maybe a movie! As Diana swam, she repeated the mantra “Find a way.” This is good advice for anyone tackling a daunting task.
Looking over my past life, I can find times when I surprised myself by doing incredible things: entering the convent right after I turned eighteen (and hanging in there), speaking at conventions although I seldom spoke as a student, and traveling to Arabia alone twice. Somehow I found the way. No doubt it was because I turn to the Way for the grace to persevere.
Looking back over your life, when have you done “the impossible?” What or who helped you? What dream are you currently working toward?