If 2011 has a theme, and, to be clear, IT SOOOO DOES, it is The Year of Perseverance.
If I were to write out a list (meaning “here comes that list”) of themes for every year of my life (they all have one), a sampling might go something like:
1977 – The Year of My Glorious Arrival
1980 – The Year the In-House Sharing Program Started (or, as my family calls it when its anniversary rolls around, obviously to make it sound prettier: my sister’s birth)
1989 – The Year That None of Us Liked
1990 – The Year We Liked a Whole Lot Better
1993 – The Year I Met (and Commenced Chasing) The Boy That Would Become The Husband
1995 – The Year I Learned That Freedom’s Just Another Word for ‘Not If You Want Your Parents to Pay for College’
1997 – The Year The Boy Raised a Flag as White as the Dress I Wore Down the Aisle
2000 – The Year I Received a Piece of Paper Pronouncing Me summa cum laude Smart
2001 – The Year of My Law School summa-cum-laude Smartness Disabusing
2003 – The Year UT Law and the Texas Bar Examiners Legitimized Me as an Over-Analyzer, Argue-abouter, and Negotiator of Life’s Legal Minutiae
2008 – The Year that All the Other Years Wish They Could Be
2009 – The Year in Which The Other Such Went Public
2011 – I Already Told You This One, Did You Really Forget That Fast?
Which ol’ Merriam-Webster roughly defines as ‘continued effort in spite of difficulties, counterinfluences, or discouragement.’
I’ve already seen enough difficulties, counterinfluences, and discouragement from 2011 that if I had its mailing address I would invite it out back to settle our grievances with a duel. Until I find that address, I’m working on my quick draw. (Regrettably, I took down a bystander at our mortgage company last week when he suggested that an error they made in over-debiting our bank account was because I confused them. I’m a little more hair-trigger than usual. Well, maybe a lot. And sometimes my aim is off. Still feel bad about the bystander thing.)
But the difficulties, the counterinfluences, the discouragement, the up-down-up-down-up-DOWNedness, for all of the frustration and exhaustion they bring, are not where the emphasis lies.
In spite of them.
Like, say you want to become a Warrior.
And in January you tell yourself ‘come April 17, I WILL be a Warrior.’
And then suddenly you’re hydroplaning through a whole series of unexpected difficulties, trying to gain some traction against the counterinfluences, drowning out the discouragement (which sounds a lot like that nagging what-if voice in your head) with a lot of Philippians 4:8ing.
So you focus your heart, as best you can, on things that are true
You stretch and bootcamp and run and push.
Even after an injury that will mean facing the Warrior challenges one-armed, you condition for battle.
You draw strength from a group of co-Warriors.
You laugh at the Other Such irony of being randomly assigned The Bib Number of The Beast.
And onward you press.
Knowing that it can’t always be clean and easy.
That sometimes it will be messier.
A lot messier.
Messy in places you never imagined would get messy.
But that’s okay.
Because even this?
It will wash.
And you can tuck them away, in your growing arsenal of Armor Befitting a Warrior and The Trinkets Awarded Therefor.
Symbols of what you can do.
What you did do.
With continued effort.
These, the footgear of perseverance.
So that the next time you need them?
You already have the perfect shoes for the occasion.