Perseverance and hollowing out the stone
Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate,
I had to walk. Somewhere around mile 18 during my 22 mile training run yesterday I started feeling bad. Really bad. I was suffering from nausea. My hands were cold and numb from lack of oxygen. I’m not sure what came over me – I’d gotten through my other long runs without such trouble. I walked a few steps, with my training buddy encouraging me to take one more step. So I ran again. And then walked again. And then ran some more letting my mind drift into memories and images of times I’d failed and then triumphed. In sport and in business. I’ve certainly been there in both arenas. Before I knew it, 22 miles was in the books.
What makes perseverance a hard is that you have to experience something difficult and come out better for it on the other side. We’re made to persevere – though in the moment of challenge it often feels like we can’t. But you will.
Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. – James 1:12
Someday, when I’m old, and you want to know things about me, I’ll tell you the things that sharpened me into the man I became. Perseverance, the will to keep moving forward, has made all the difference – though I often didn’t realize I was doing it. Sometimes I even felt like I was laying down and stopping, but your mind is stronger than you body and your temporary emotions and sooner rather than later you are moving forward again; strengthened by the momentary doubt and struggle.
Max, you got the Perseverance award at school on Friday. I watched the smile spread across your face when they called your name – not really aware of what you’d won and why, but just reveling in the attention. You two little ones, our 10 week preemies, faced so many challenges in the beginning. We all did. So, when kindergarten came for you we weren’t sure just how it would go – how far you might be behind the other kids; the same age, but facing the challenge of having been born early. But we should have known. You’re hard wired to succeed – on your terms.
You struggled a little in the beginning Max. But it wasn’t because you aren’t a smart boy. It turns out you’re very smart in fact. You were unsure of yourself in the beginning, still in your shell a bit, and hard on yourself when you didn’t succeed immediately. You get that naturally. Over the last 6 weeks though you’ve grown by leaps and bounds in your school work and in your self confidence. Your teachers are amazed at how quickly you made a complete turnaround in your work.
Izzy, you won the same award at school a few years back, after you broke both of your arms falling off of the monkey bars. You didn’t let that traumatic event hold you back though. Kate, the one who went through perhaps the most health wise, you have never lacked confidence. You’ve persevered since day 1; shrugged your shoulders with a small, but might “so what” and moved mountains pebble by pebble.
Perseverance is hard. Our family has always earned what we’ve gotten since Mommy and I were married. I want you kids to know that someday – nothing was given to us. And along the way we faced many challenges that most families don’t have to face. But we’re better for it; a mantle of life’s trophies that we can look upon each day and know “we earned these.”
“Dripping water hollows out stone, not through force but through persistence.” – Ovid
“Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes into us at midnight very clean. It’s perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we’ve learned something from yesterday.” – John Wayne
I’m proud of you all.
I love you,
Sat: Swam 1000
Sun: ran 10 miles
Mon: Swam 1000
Tues: Ran 5
Wed: Ran 5
Sat: Ran 22 miles in 3:25