Recently I learned something about the word ‘endurance’. I always thought it meant doing something difficult and challenging for an extensive period and while that’s part of it, I also learned that endurance is the combination of determination and tenacity, a balance of patience, persistence and guts and being reliable and accountable. That’s quite a tall order, but without endurance, our chances of success are limited.
Endurance takes energy and a lot of commitment because you are driven by what counts. Often in life we feel like starting and continuing something but more often than not, fail to carry it through. I’ve always admired marathon runners for their sheer determination and physical and mental endurance. No matter what the distance, the intention to carry it out and reach the destination, regardless of the discomfort, is always there.
While it’s good to have a goal, it’s even better to fight for that goal. Terry Fox comes to mind when I think about endurance. Instead of letting a terminal disease consume him, he fought back by running a Marathon of Hope with an artificial leg across Canada, in his early 20s. While he succumbed to cancer along the way, he never gave up. It’s been 35 years since Terry Fox ran, but his legacy continues including an annual run that raises money for cancer research. By some coincidence, my seven-year-old daughter recently saw a man who had an artificial leg in running shoes, very much like Terry Fox. She pointed it out to me and said, ‘I feel sad for him’ and my reply was that he was standing and walking and wearing running shoes.
What I also learned about endurance is that you don’t have to scale a mountain or run a marathon, but it is important to set a goal and make a commitment to achieve it, how ever long it takes. You also have to try and do it in a loving manner (eg: not hurt those around you). It might be as simple as breaking a bad habit or starting a good habit, or getting involved in a cause near and dear to you.
Not all of us are marathon runners, however there may be other aspects of our existence that might challenge our beliefs and values the same way. I have my own mountains to climb and I hope that you too reach your peak or find your finish line!