Lately I’ve been receiving lessons on perseverance. The most dramatic one was the incredible victory of the Cleveland Cavaliers with odds against them. After a 52-year drought, they clinched the NBA championship to the delight of their many diehard fans. Closer to home, I could not get the DVD player to work with the new television equipment that was installed recently. Last night I tried one more time and bingo. . . it worked! The other day I was telling someone how difficult it was to market my books. I prefer spending my time writing. He said, “Don’t give up. Keep trying.” I came across this quotation: “If you do nothing to market your book, do you know what you’ll get? Nothing.”
These experiences lead me to reflect on other situations that call for perseverance . . .
During our years of convent formation, a popular song was “Never Give Up.” We had the practice of praying three Hail Marys for the grace of perseverance in our vocation.
Undertaking a diet . . . and then undertaking it again after we bought a dozen donuts.
Exercising every day although we’re tired, or the temperature’s in the nineties, or there’s something “more important” to do.
Learning to play a musical instrument.
Learning Spanish or Chinese.
Eliminating violence in our towns and cities.
Working against human trafficking.
It’s said that Thomas Edison tried 1,000 times to invent the electric light bulb before he achieved success. Thank goodness he never gave up! Abraham Lincoln ran for public office six times and was defeated each time before he became president.
Not giving up on a person is paramount. If Anne Sullivan had given up on Helen Keller, we would have been deprived of her wisdom. If the coaches of Olympian champions had given up on them, they might not have garnered their medals. If spouses gave up on their partners, or parents their children, families would be destroyed.
Fortunately God doesn’t give up on us. Sometimes after the daily news I wonder if God regrets his promise to Noah not to flood the world again. Seems we need a good washing. Yet God perseveres in showing us love and compassion.
Perseverance is not regarded as a chief virtue. In the list of capital virtues, diligence (the opposite of sloth) is the closest one to it. Still, perseverance is key to a good life, which requires that we persevere in being virtuous!
What hero do you admire for perseverance? When have you experienced success after persevering?