“To be like the rock that the waves keep crashing over. It stands unmoved and the raging of the sea falls still around it.” — Marcus Aurelius

The idea had been birthed. There was robust and rigorous discussion. There were of course nay-sayers and skeptics, and while annoying to a few, they had a role to play. In a moment of uniform enthusiasm the proclamation was made, “We will build a playground at the park!”

Tasks were divided, and folks got to work. Yet fairly shortly the excitement began to wane as challenges began to emerge. Initial donations were great, but they quickly turned to very small contributions. The local municipality that was in the beginning 100% behind the project became the six headed beast of bureaucracy. As time moved on commitments from local businesses seemed less helpful than they originally appeared. With each one of these challenges the once fired up crowd diminished in numbers.

“Persistence refers to the quality of continuing to pursue something despite obstacles, challenges, or setbacks. It is the ability to stay focused and committed to a goal or objective over an extended period, even when faced with difficulties or discouragement. Persistence often involves determination, resilience, and a willingness to put in the necessary effort and work towards achieving a desired outcome.” Chat GPT

It is hard to forge ahead when it feels as if the wind has done a 180 from propelling you forward to pushing hard against you. And yet, building a capacity for persistence may be in the end not only rewarding but literally life giving. Time and time again I have been inspired by those who face incredible challenges and who find the inner strength to forge ahead.

Our spirit persists like a man struggling
through the frozen valley
who suddenly smells flowers
and realizes the snow is melting
out of sight on top of the mountain,
knows that spring has begun. – Jack Gilbert

There are many examples of those who have been slammed by crashing waves and have found strength to stand up again, even when they can see another wave coming. What I have observed and learned from these folks is there is something that goes beyond just their own grit and guts. It is an inner strength. It is what I believe to be the combination of a deep sense of faith with a deep sense of calling or purpose for what they have committed their entire being to achieve or overcome. And it is in that space that convictions, values, and principles combined with resilience, patience and trust reside.

The prayer of our souls is a petition for persistence; not for the one good deed, or single thought, but deed on deed and thought on thought, until day calling unto day shall make a life worth living. ~ W. E. B. DuBois, 1868 – 1963

It was great to drive by that park not long ago and see that playground filled with happy kids!

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