Friday, April 3, 2015

Persevere

per·se·vere
[pur-suh-veer]
VERB (USED WITHOUT OBJECT) [PER·SE·VERED, PER·SE·VER·ING.]
 
1.  to persist in anything undertaken; maintain a purpose in spite of difficulty, obstacles, or discouragement; continue steadfastly.
 
This is my word this year.  It is a word that is encompassing all that I am doing right now.  The definition is constantly going through my mind as I try to push through and become better.  I wear this ring every day.
I put it on first thing every morning and take it off last every night.  I look at it often throughout the day - to remind me.  This year has been a big adjustment for me.  I went from not working outside the home for the last 13 years to working fulltime.  I love it and I love the people I work with, but it has been a huge adjustment.  I am gone all day and then it seems, with the kids' activities, I am also gone all night. 
 
This fall I had 3 in football, one in cross country, one in volleyball and one in gymnastics.  This winter I had 5 in basketball.  Now it has slowed down and I only have 2 in track.  On top of the sports we also have church and scouts. Every Wednesday night.  At church I am one of the 3 in charge of all the children under the age of 12.  I teach lessons, conduct meetings, teach music and also have meetings with the other 2 so we can plan and keep things on track.  During this school year we also moved - a huge blessing, but also another obstacle to work through.  Zeke was diagnosed with Tourette's syndrome.  While his is still mild it has been an issue to work through and there have been many times of frustration and stress - for him and for the rest of us. 
 
As the school year started and we got so involved and busy, I put myself aside and just spent my days working and following kids around.  Over Christmas break I decided I had to change that.  I needed to start exercising again and start taking better care of myself so I could continue with the busyness of life.  So, I started getting up at 5 am (an hour with which I have a love/hate relationship with).  This is something that I have NEVER been able to do, ever!  But I started and I am still doing it ☺  I found a weightlifting program that I love and so I do that every morning and then try to fit cardio of some sort in when there is left over time.  It is hard.  I have finished my 2nd month of the weightlifting program and my 3rd month of 5am. 
 
I have had to persevere many mornings as I fight my way out of the warm covers and down stairs to the weights ☺  I persevered through tears of frustration as I drag myself to bed at night, exhausted, wondering why I am doing this when I don't feel like my workouts are getting me anywhere.  I have persevered through long days at work, nights spent in the bleachers cheering, weekends on the road as we go from tournament to tournament.  I have had to persevere as I worked on my Sunday lessons and tried to teach busy children to sit reverently and practice songs, listen to the lessons and read scriptures. 
 
Do I love it?  Yes.  No.  Sometimes.  I don't know.  Maybe.  A little. 
 
Sunday night we had our family night.  Our lesson was on pushing our limits, being our best.  Finishing even when it was hard.  We talked about the parable in the Bible of the talents.  The Master had three servants.  He was getting ready to leave for a certain amount of time and so he gave his three servants talents to take care of while he was gone.  To one he gave 5, to another 2 and to the 3rd one.  The servant with 5 went out and doubled his talents.  So did the servant with 2.  The servant with one went and buried his talent in the earth so no one could find it.  When the master came back, he called his servants to him and asked them what they had done with his talents.  The one who started with 5 gave him 10 and said he had gone out and worked and doubled his talents.  The one with 2 told him the same and gave the master 4 talents.  The one who started with one gave the master back his one and told him he was afraid because he knew that master to be hard so he hid his talent.  The master blessed the ones who had worked and doubled their talents.  The one who had hid his talent he cursed and took his talent away and gave it to the one with 10.
 
The Lord has given us all different talents and abilities.  What do we do with them?  We develop them, we share them, we work hard, we persevere, we push our limits, we become the best we can be.  The harder we work, especially when it is hard, the stronger we will become, the more we will be blessed, the better we will be.  We will not always come out on top, we will not make every basket, we won't win every race - in fact, we may never win a race, 5 am may never become easy, Math may never be our top subject, we may never be able to spell "piece" without reciting "i before e except after c and in words such as neighbor and weigh."  However, we can be better than we were the day before.  We can get stronger, faster, smarter.  We can become more kind, humble, obedient, patient and passionate.  We can push farther. longer and harder.  We can persevere, in spite of the difficulty that lay ahead.  We can take what the Lord has given us and build on that foundation and become all that He knows we can be.  We can climb over our stumbling blocks and use them to bring us closer to God. 
 
I have spoken about my Dad before, but he is my perfect example in perseverance.  He had polio when he was 1 years old.  It left him paralyzed from the waist down.  He did not let that stop him.  He played backyard football and basketball, he was one of the smartest kids in school.  He played wheelchair basketball, threw shotput and discus in track (and was really good).  He got his college degree and has taught school for as long as I can remember.  There were times when he couldn't get a job because of prejudices against him.  Did he quit?  No, he went back to school and got even more education.  He coached football, basketball, track and cross country.  He is 70 now.  He is still teaching.  He is also head JH cross country and track coach.  Was it easy for him?  No.  There were times when he would fall.  Not always metaphorically either.  There were times when he would actually fall.  Every single time, he got back up and continued on with what he was doing.  Most times the fall would result in pain.  He did not let the pain stop him.  In fact, I really have no idea or comprehension of the pain that he would feel.  Now he is older, all those falls have caught up with him and the pain is constant.  Yet, every day, he gets up and goes.  He does what he needs to do and he does his very best.  He has never done less than his best and he does it with a good attitude so that no one on the outside would be aware of any difficulty he may be facing.
 
From him, I have learned to get back up and continue on.  I am not as good at it as he is, but I try to follow his example.  I try to teach my children to do the same.  To persevere.  To make each day be the best day and each effort to be the best effort. 
 

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