This I believe: I believe that perseverance is a natural part of human nature that should be cherished and exercised as much as any other part of our being.
We see perseverance, the inclination to stick with something until it comes to completeness, across our lives and across our nation. We see it in the infant determined to sit up, walk, and run. We see it in the child who is resolved to master a new subject in school, perhaps even a musical instrument or athletic skill, and take delight in being able to do something well and effectively. We see it in the young person who, as he or she comes into awareness of a future lives as an adult, becomes inclined to aspire to maturity and responsibility. We see it in the adults, young and old, as they slough off the cares and worries of life to hold onto their ideals, recognizing the opportunity to live as if cares and worries were nothing, and that every deed to be done was in and of itself an affirmation of who they were meant to be.
And, alas, we also see in the failure to persevere, the failure to aspire to better themselves and others. Too often failure becomes a stopping point, a point of humiliation at the hands of others, even those who are loved ones, themselves perhaps afraid of realizing in themselves the potential contained in all of us. This is no less a death, a taking of life, as if someone had walked up and murdered them. Because perseverance is so much of human nature itself, turning that off in anyone, at any age, is a loss of life even though the body and mind may still walk and live for many years more.
Perhaps even more pernicious, we too easily starve the instinct of perseverance in our children and our neighbors’ children in impatience, irritation, and weariness, recognized or not, at our own tired, even dying, sense of purpose. A kind word, a little time spent, a bit of whimsy is the life-giving water to a spirit of perseverance. And of love as well, I may add.
I work in the business of indigent criminal defense. I am a state assistant public defender in Missouri. I see many of those for whom perseverance is a dying thing, for whom life has become an unremitting burden of failure and fear. But this I see and believe as well: that, while the spirit of perseverance is apt to be neglected and abused, it is also capable of resurgence, even in the most hardened and broken of lives. Perseverance in one is capable of bring out perseverance in others. And perhaps that is another essential thing: perseverance is a quality of life, of existence, that is best cultivated with others. Just as human beings, throughout our existence, have naturally come to live with each other, so the very nature of each life is nurtured, and courage taken, when we persevere with each other.
This I believe.
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