Try and Try Again

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To do the same thing over and over again and expect different results is absurd. But isn’t that what perseverance is? Or is it? Perhaps it involves more in the way of “fine tuning.” Perhaps it demands learning from our mistakes, and shoring up our weaknesses while honing our strengths. When my daughter was job hunting, she
didn’t keep sending out the same resume, month after month with no effort to make it better. When it didn’t seem to be working, she took a closer look at what she was “bargaining” with. The resume was edited to mend any flaws. She reexamined her qualifications and developed additional skills to become a stronger candidate. What she didn’t do (much) is moan that the world was out to get her and just quit trying. She kept at it until she finally found a suitable job. Even when the odds appear to be stacked against us, perseverance is that drive that says “keep moving; keep improving; keep trying.” It’s the voice of God saying “Stay the course for I am with you always.”

Yet when I studied the readings for today, I saw underlying this perseverance that Jesus seems to be talking about, is something else compelling. Perseverance is important, but even the best of us get tired and discouraged. Moses’ arms grew weary and his supporters, Joshua and Hur, gave him a bench to sit on and held up his arms. Who do I depend on for support? Who are the people that give me the encouragement to keep on trying? (And have I thanked them recently?) For many of us, these are the people in our family and in our faith community. Some of them we know by name, others we might not realize are out there providing support.

Are we so busy seeking to be the central figure that we put our own importance, our own legacy first? Do we step on other people to make ourselves look better? Do we think our personal dreams and desires outweigh the wants of those around us? The recent mess in our government has illustrated the disaster this self-centered approach can quickly become. Like Congress, we need to work in collaboration with one another. The end result may not be our first choice, it may not come on our watch, or we may not feel that what we do has been worth the effort. Yet Christ is asking us – nay telling us – that we have to persevere in our faith and trust. If we follow God’s bidding, our efforts will contribute to His plan, if not to ours. We can do that best by strengthening our spirituality, increasing our prayer life, and refocusing on God’s will. This is the perseverance that we need to strive for. If we work in this manner, our efforts will never be in vain.

Linda Crowley