i have spent much of my feeling subject to the snickers of observers watching me fail at something time and time again. it’s how i’ve felt in the gym sometimes trying to push that freaking barbell up. how i’ve felt anytime i’ve played organized sports with others. how i felt when a wife left, in her words, “because i wasn’t man enough.” how i allowed myself to feel when trying to “fit into my gender” and its definition of masculinity. and definitely how i’ve felt any time i try to make that “buzzer beater winning shot” by trying to be cute and toss something into the trashcan. LOL
when i saw this video–passed on by a colleage and friend, i instantly identified with its protagonist.
not long into this video, i believe the snickering of these guys watching this eagle try to fish out the nutria from a lake in Baton Rouge turned into a hopeful type of encouragement, something that cheered this determined eagle on. the parallels here for me personally are staggering. how many friends and family members have cheered me on from the sidelines–some of them directly and many of them quietly, unobserved, through prayer, or positive thoughts.
i think of my adopted mother and how i know that each and every day she prays for my happiness and peace in life. i think of my late biological mother and how she spent every, single conversation we had reminding me to continue to draw strength from within. i think of a lifelong companion and countless friends (you know who you are) who have never for a moment failed to encourage me in some of the very worst times of my life and reminded me to embrace who i am. aunts and siblings who reach out and champion me and children who have never once made me feel ashamed for being who i am.
and i am reminded of all the times that, like this eagle, i drew from something inside to help me persevere. i’m know i am not alone among humanity in dealing with adversity but i do believe i have had an enormous share of obstacles to overcome, obstacles that began as soon as i was born and have continued thus: through adoption, abandonment, abuse, abandonment again, ridicule, bullying, sexual abuse, abandonment, single parenthood, potentially damning and devastating personal choices, coming out, more abandonment, enduring then exiting a toxic relationship, poor fiscal choices, and on and on.
i don’t know of any other way to explain it except that, like the instinct of this eagle, perseverance is apparently something i was born with. in fact, i see this same trait in my sons although i’m not sure they realize they possess it in significant quantity.
somehow, despite so many ups and downs, i’ve never quit trying. and even now, as i grapple with my own situation and cirumstance, “giving up” is never a choice. i’m constantly trying to make myself better, to find ways to reach the potential i know i have, to make sure that my life will not be remembered for all the times i failed, but rather for all the times i caught that tasty nutria.
ok. wait: that’s gross. but i think you get my point.
Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying
when there seemed to be no help at all.”
“Perseverance is not a long race;
it is many short races one after another.”
“For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again.”
“Some men give up their designs when they have almost reached the goal; While others, on the contrary, obtain a victory by exerting, at the last moment, more vigorous efforts than ever before.”
it is this characteristic, perhaps more than any other (save maybe that i had great hair) that i hope comprises the legacy i leave behind.
never, ever, allow a circumstance, the judgment of others, or that negative voice in your head allow you to quit: no matter what.