Gift 4 – Perseverance

Son, I want to tell you the story of how I got to marry your mom.

There was this beautiful girl I’d seen a few times in a college Bible study. We knew each other a little bit—she knew my name and I knew hers, but that was about it. I wanted to get to know her better and told one of my best friends, Ron. Well, Sunday after Church Ron and I went to The Wooden Shoe restaurant for lunch, and lo and behold, the beautiful girl from Bible study was working there! What luck! Unfortunately, Ron didn’t realize that this was the girl I’d been talking about; he basically blew my chances of getting to know her by fleeing the restaurant (and taking me with him) when he heard about free waffles somewhere else.

We got to the car.
Me: “Ron, you idiot, that was the girl!”
Ron: “Oh shoot, I’m so sorry, let’s go back in.”
Me: “No, we’re not going back in! We’d look even more crazy if we did that!”
Ron: “Well let’s come back next week then.”

And we did. A group of friends and I came back the next week, and the week after that, and the week after that, for something like 8 weeks in a row just to have this girl as a waitress (Stalker-ish? Maybe). Finally, after 8 weeks of small talk I knew I had to make a move. “So, what are you studying in college?” I asked.

“I’m a nursing major and Spanish minor,” she replied.

Close enough, I thought to myself. “I love Spanish!” The truth is, son, I knew about 3 words in Spanish.

“Oh yeah? Would you be interested in helping teach an ESL class for Spanish speaking adults in the community with me on Tuesday nights?”

“Um…yes, I would love that.”

She walked away; my friends all looked at me like I was crazy. Great, I thought, I’ve got one week to learn Spanish.

To make a long story a little shorter, we began teaching the class together and it didn’t take long for her to realize I was a fraud (on the first day I showed a picture of my 1 year old niece to the class and communicated, in Spanish, that the little girl was my girlfriend). But I stuck it out, learned a bit more Spanish, and eventually got a dinner date with this beautiful multi-lingual waitress who is now my wife.

While this might sound like perseverance, to be honest, it’s really not. Running after a beautiful girl (and even pretending to speak foreign languages to spend time with her) isn’t really all that difficult. The difficult part comes later, and this is the gift I want to point you towards. True perseverance starts when your desire to move forward stalls. When instead of excitement and romance, you’re figuring out who will pay bills, who will scoop the dog poop from the yard, who will clean up all those dirty dishes in the sink. Perseverance is all about the decisions you make to keep serving, to keep loving, and to keep hoping in life when it would be easier not to. This is what will make you a dangerous man. And though this is extremely difficult at times, the man who perseveres becomes a little more like the Leader of our tribe, and will someday taste the sweet fruit of his resolve that so many have forgone in search of a happiness that comes without perseverance—a kind of happiness that doesn’t exist.

Adios por ahora 😉

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