Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Perseverance

A couple weeks ago, Cam and I were walking through Central Park on our way to meet some friends. We took our time entering at 72nd on the West Side near Strawberry Fields and decided to walk up a path by the lawn bowling green that neither of us had ever taken before. The path wound around a large rock, which had a couple of trees growing out of it. Now that is perseverance. I admired one of the trees for a minute contemplating what it must have taken for that tree to grow roots through a rock deep enough into the earth to get nutrients enough to not only sustain itself but to flourish. That tree had done the seemingly impossible either by sheer will to survive or by the thrill of the challenge, both excellent motivators. I'm quite certain that tree faced a lot of adversity in trying to establish residency in an unlikely and unnatural spot, and perhaps there were moments when it looked as though failure might be the outcome. But perseverance yielded triumph.

I have often reflected on my own moments of perseverance although the ones I can most easily recall are those of actual physical and mental perseverance. It wasn't that long ago that I did what I at one time thought impossible - the Ironman. All it took was a little observation and personal involvement to convince myself that I could do this too. Once I decided in my head that I could do it, there was never a doubt in my mind that I would cross that finish line. It took a lot of work... endless hours of physical endurance and sacrifice... but on Nov. 8, 2003 I crossed that finish line in 12:03:02. I won't say it wasn't hard or that there were times along that year-long journey that I didn't want to throw in the towel, but I didn't and I finished. I had similar experiences with the New York and Boston Marathons. At times that finish line seems impossible to reach and running 26 miles might as well be like swimming across the ocean with no arms, but something within myself refuses to give up. I'm out of practice, and I haven't run more than 10 miles at any one time since I did Boston in 2006. When I think about doing a marathon or an Ironman I am often amazed that I did such a thing because it seems so impossible now. But I did do it, so I know I am capable of willing myself to do just about anything.

I feel as though recently I have misplaced my perseverance. I am not quite sure if I left it somewhere or if it decided to take a vacation without leaving me a note indicating its return. That's not to say that I haven't been faced with challenges in its absence but rather that in the face of those challenges I feel less capable, less courageous, less confident in my ability to persevere with grace. Marriage has been wonderful in every way, and there have been few major adjustments, except this one. As a single, independent person I had learned to take courage, be strong and immovable. No one else was going to make decisions for me or will me forward. The same goes for marriage, but I feel like my courage and fortitude are not right on the surface as they used to be ready to burst forth in my magic shield of perseverance. I have to dig a little deeper. Perhaps it is so because it is easy to rely on the strength of your spouse. Perhaps it took a vacation because it felt neglected or that I didn't need it anymore, but not so! I need it just as much as ever.

I want to be more like that tree growing out of a rock demonstrating that there is nothing that cannot be done when determination and God are present. He created the trees afterall, and He created me... so therefore I have unlimited and untapped potential. I can grow from the rocks. As Eleanor Roosevelt said, I must do the things I think I cannot do.

6 comments:

Oliver & Margy said...

You're so inspiring, Nikki. Thanks for sharing this one. Aren't we blessed to have examples in nature, and in friends that help us overcome, persevere, and become greater than our human minds thought we could become? I'm always grateful for the possibilities that lie because I know I have a long way to grow...

Beth&Cody said...

It's always nice to kick start the day with a bit of inspiration. Thanks for the message.

Rebecca said...

Yeah--this resonates with me.

Em said...

Nix- you have always been one of the strongest women I know. Your example has always motivated me to work harder. I don't think your perseverance has ever gone anywhere.

PS Nice pic. You MUST go back in the spring/summer and take another one when it has leaves on it.

Scotty Sarah Asher Graham said...

I have found that the times that I really don't want to go on in life is when I am doing something very important. Satan seems to swoop in when I am down and he tries to push me even further. I think that is why we are commanded to endure to the end. You are a strong person and I know you will be fine. I am also in a running rut. I blame that one on the winter season. :)
Sarah

Lisa said...

Hey there, I found your blog from Josh Haldemans. You look like you are doing great! Way to go with the marathons, etc. I ran the St. George but it may have been my first and last.