I just finished reading a really great story. The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown. About the University of Washington’s eight-oar crew that competed for gold at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. With Hitler in the audience.


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The story is about the adversity these boys overcame to get where they were — as a team and as individuals growing up during a hard time in America. Through perseverance. Persistence. Determination. Tenacity. Some of my favorite words.

There is a quote in the middle of the book that catches my eye. The boat crafter is talking with one of the boys about the wood he uses and why, about the rings in the tree, about how some of them are narrower than others, which represent the lean years this tree had seen.

The wood taught us about survival, about overcoming difficulty, about prevailing over adversity, but it also taught us something about the underlying reasons for surviving in the first place. Something about infinite beauty, about undying grace, about things larger and greater than ourselves. About the reasons we were all here.

My heart quickened when I read this. Because it relates to my life with Hubby. We did not survive the financial setback years, or the length of years with cancer, I am not surviving widowhood … just to survive.

There is something larger and greater here. A purpose for being on earth. Something of beauty to come from the hard. A story of perseverance to tell.

What is your *something larger*? And how does one get good at persevering? I think one gets good at persevering by … persevering:

1. Choose to continue forward. No matter what bad news or setbacks, we have the choice to lie down and give up, or continue forward. Even if it’s small steps forward.

2. Choose empowerment. Hubby had no control over the cancer, or the side effects of treatment. But he could control several things for quality of life — his dietary intake, his level of physical activity, his attitude, whether or not he would do something to give back.

3. Choose gratitude. Gratitude helps refocus our vision. We mostly have temporal vision because it’s where we live. But what is the bigger picture God sees that we cannot? Gratitude helps us see a little more clearly.

Dr. Seuss has this to say about persevering:

When you’re alone there’s a very good chance you’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants. There are some, down the road between hither and yon, that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on.

Onward up many a frightening creek, though your arms may get sore and your sneakers may leak. Oh! The places you’ll go!”

From our experience, I would gently say to you, Persevere. You just may be amazed at where that takes you.

Have you thought about this? I’ll ask the question again: What is your *something larger* for having survived adversity?

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