Persevere is such a misunderstood word. Sometimes we use it in an almost flippant kind of way, just trudge along and persevere. But, if you stop for a moment and think of the word persevere, it has the word “severe” in it. Persevere means to persist in or remain constant to a purpose even in the face of difficulty.
A few recent instances caused me to contemplate this word.
I know too many people who are either chronically sick, terminally ill, struggling with loss, or trying to hang onto hope. And yet they hold on and persevere. I am so amazed by people who have such endurance for the race which often seems more like a marathon. Where does this strength come from? We are designed to survive.
I’m part of a book group, but I will stray from the list of assigned books and read something on my own. I also like to go back and read a classic piece of literature. I recently finished reading: Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe. It was published in 1719 and has much relevance to perseverance. Crusoe is shipwrecked and has to rely on his past knowledge and learn survival skills in order to persevere. Another part that I found interesting is how in the face of adversity and struggle, he turns to God. Now this is not an unusual phenomenon for one who feels lost and helpless but it wasn’t his first thought or action.
When Crusoe is near death, he finally cries out and asks God what he did to deserve this life? He is destitute, abandoned and shipwrecked on a deserted island. Why me? He begins to self-reflect and starts to answer himself in a contrary perspective and lists all the wrong things he has done and then realizes all the ways God has perhaps rescued him: when he was captured and lived as a slave and was able to escape, when he had the potential of being killed by natives along the coast of Africa and the list goes on and on. He begins to realize how much God had protected him. I thought it was a good analogy for our current life and how we often are quick to blame someone or even God for the circumstances we are in. We tend to find it easier and almost necessary to blame someone else for our circumstance. As if that might make it more endurable.
Like the character Robinson Crusoe, many people I know are perservering through their life each day. Hopefully, those that are struggling will find a way to cope and not blame someone for their circumstance. It gives me pause to be thankful, to reflect, and have gratitude for the many wonders in my life. It also is a reminder to me to try and lend assistance to those who struggle and need support while they trudge through each day. It is likely if someone you know is perservering through some sort of difficulty, they would welcome a note, a card, a meal or just a nice cup of coffee or tea. We need to be available to those in need and perhaps lighten the burden, even if it is just a small act of kindness.