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Posts Tagged ‘perserverence’

Hope, Perserverance, and Strength

2010 has been a tough year. It’s been a tough year for me, for my family, and for my friends. It has been a tough year for most of the citizens of this great nation of ours, from the lobster coast of Maine to the shrimp coast of Louisiana; from the suburbs of California to Las Vegas to Cleveland, Ohio; from the financial houses of our major cities to the small businesses in your hometown. From sea to shining sea, people have lost their jobs, lost their homes, lost their pride. Some have lost their marriages, lost their children, or even lost their freedom to a government which seems to have lost its mind. Some have lost loved ones in battles overseas, to the debilitating effects drugs or alcohol, or to highway accidents at the hands of the thoughtless and careless. Some have lost their farms, lost their businesses, lost their pensions, or lost their minds due to debilitating dementia in their older years. Even those of us fortunate enough not to have lost any of these things are still feeling the stresses of a horrible economy and a nation seemingly going astray. For we know we could be next, we could fall, we could fail, we could lose, we could succumb to the great malaise that has crept over the country. Most of us are only one paycheck, one bad performance review, one missed mortgage payment, or one cancerous lesion away from total financial ruin and a life spent in a cardboard box under an I-84 overpass.

But today, on the eve of our only near-universal High Holy Day, there are still opportunities for hope. The source of that hope is not only in the kind messages carried across a faraway land by a humble man two millenia ago, there is also a source of hope in our own history, a source of hope in the perseverance of the best of mankind.

As a people, we’ve suffered a lot over 400 years of history. Our ancestors suffered the savageness of the frontier; under the harsh yoke of slavery; from the invisible demons of imported diseases run amok. They suffered life in filthy tenement buildings in New York City, festering sweatshops in Chicago, indentured servitude on Western railroads, or the penniless existence of Depression-era Appalachia. They suffered in the poisonous foxholes of France, on marches of pain in the Philippines, in the frozen mountains of Korea, and in the steamy jungles of Vietnam.

Yet through all this suffering, all this pain, all this trauma, we’ve survived. We’ve not only survived, but we’ve come out stronger and better than before. Sure we’ve strayed from time to time, for we are only human, but the trend is still upward. This should be, must be, a source of hope for all of us. We’ve gotten ourselves through all of that, and we’ll get through this as well. There is a way out, a way through, and a shining light at the end of it all. It requires hope, and perseverance, and strength.

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There exists a great, philosophical synergy between Christmas and New Year’s Day. Christmas is a celebration of hope, hope brought to the world by a great prophet long, long ago. It is also a time to reinforce the bonds of family and friends and neighbors, for those bonds should give us strength. It is also a time to regroup, rethink, catch one’s breath and propel yourself into the New Year with the strength and hope to enable you to persevere, overcome, and succeed.

I wish all my readers a very Merry Christmas, and much success in the New Year. 🙂

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