“Success is a little like wrestling a gorilla. You don’t quit when you’re tired. You quit when the gorilla is tired.”- Robert Strauss
“People cry not because they are weak. It’s because they’ve been strong too long.” – Shane Koyczan
These two quotes define the two ends of perseverance for me: doggedly hanging in there against all odds until the end and the reality of what happens when one has persevered or “been in the storm” too long.
Perseverance is simultaneously an individual and communal pursuit. There is the individual’s decision to persevere and the reality of gathering all of the tools necessary to be able to do so. And in many cases, that means gathering others to you so that you may persevere in the pursuit of something.
Rabbi David Wolf tells the following story:
A boy and his father were walking along a road when they came across a large stone. “Do you think if I use all of my strength, I can move this rock?” the child asked. His father answered, “If you use all of your strength, I am sure you can do it.” The boy began to push the rock. Exerting himself as much as he could, he pushed and pushed. The rock did not move. Discouraged, he said to his father, “You were wrong. I can’t do it.” His father put his arm around the boy’s shoulder and said, “No son. You didn’t use all your strength – you didn’t ask me to help.”
May we use all of our strength in whatever we choose to persevere and may we be wise enough to ask for the strength of others in our pursuit.
Peace, Shalom, Salaam,