“The art of love is largely the art of persistence”~ Albert Ellis
In 1973, at the impressionable age of nine, I witness two things for the first time on T.V. The first wonder was a program about Chang and Eng Bunker, conjoined twins born in Siam, as in Siamese twins. Like most kids, this was my first glimpse of the world outside my town. Sure, I knew of a “real” place called the North Pole, and that Big Foot lived in Oregon. But this was different; there were people in this world living incredible lives .The second happen during the commercial. It was for this new product called Krazy Glue. As fate would have it, I had two younger brothers that were not conjoined – yet. You see what a nine-year-old boy might be thinking. The tool needed to fulfill my insane idea sat on dads’ workbench in the garage. The thought, glue your brothers (four and six) together while they sleep appeared so fast that I was hiding the tube under my pillow when the second thought, ‘Are you nuts?’ showed up. By this time it was too late. In my defense, my intellect was also nine years old and gluing brothers together was not yet in the repertoire of things not to do. The spanking was almost worth the screams of terror when they woke. This was my lesson in adherence. Tip for parents whose child won’t sleep in their room; glue may be an answer. My brothers slept alone in their own rooms from that day forward.
Persistence is adhering to a course of action, a belief, or a purpose. You are not simply associated to the action, belief or purpose; you are stuck to it like glue. Imagine the strength of a belief stuck to you. It is who you are; to destroy it would destroy you. Faith is a strong thing, if it is more than a casual association. Having a belief is not simply something you are associated with but it is a part of you is a life force. Imagine being adhered to your faith in such a way that it is the force that drives you.
There is a huge difference between associating with faith and adhering to it. Like super glued brothers, nothing comes between you and faith if you adhere to it. If there is a gap between belief and disbelief then there is room for doubt. This is where deprogramming gets traction. If there is any uncertainty, distrust, or lack confidence, there is doubt which allows someone or thing to cause you to wonder who you are.
It starts with questioning why and what I know and ends with wishy-washy conviction. Doubt questions what you believe and cause delaying or rejecting action because of fear. Fear of mistake. It essentially locks the brain in neutral, like hanging in the air between two opposing thoughts and unable to decide on either of them. My youngest daughter, Day, goes into a zombie like trance each time it is her turn to decide a fun family activity because she is afraid of making an unpopular choice. Doubt is the opposite of persistence. It is the absence of belief, the absence of conviction and the absence of faith. It is moms’ nail polish remover to a little boy’s super glue.
If persistence is the adhesive of faith, than perseverance must be the strength of the adhesive making it impossible for doubt to slither in the cracks.
Many people confuse perseverance with persistence and the other way around, they may seem identical but they’re not. It may help to think of them as twin sisters, both struggling for individual recognition. The slight difference is in character, if you say something lasts, you are talking about persistence. Perseverance wants you to know, if you say something struggles to last, you are talking about her.
Marriage is a good example of PP. I am 22 years married. My friends are 33 years married. I met a couple 66 years married. Ten years ago I told my wife, “I am a persistent man,” she had some doubt. What I was saying is, despite my struggles, have no doubt that I do not quit. In the last 10 years I became crazy on faith, as in, stuck to it not casually associated. Because of this character to get the job done, she now has no doubt of her husband because she sees the fruit of my labor. Strength of perseverance is evidence of the ability to persist. If you want to gauge how long something will last, examine how well it stands against the forces trying to destroy it.
The couple with 33 years of marriage achieved this through the culmination of three marriages. Currently they are persevering in their third marriage. Remember, the strength of your perseverance is directly related to your ability to persist. Some people fail and start again; there is nothing wrong with that. Just keep in mind, survival is determined at the end of the story. The couple married for 66 years both grew up during the ten years of Great Depression in the 30’s. They met in 1948, three years after WWII and two years before the Korean War. When they married in 1950, they and all Americans, were nothing but strong. The newlyweds vowed to stay the course till death do them part.
Computer engineers have a cool way of thinking about persistence. In computer lingo, persistence means the command to do something computery outlives the process that created it. The word computery is a clue that I am not a gadget geek. Something computery is like when you save a file, the command to save is done but the program continues. This puts perseverance and persistence in a whole new light. It’s like the author who creates a book. The book will persist long after the author is gone.
The focus of perseverance is not the struggle itself but instead the object of our struggle. This is the reason some people struggle in vain, they aren’t sure of the goal. As in what is the purpose of your struggle. What’s the goal? The goal is to survive. To outlive the process that created it (persistence) is why we struggle (persevere).
The Brooklyn Bridge is one of the oldest suspension bridges in the United States. It remains a persistent landmark in New York since 1883. The workers who contributed to the process of constructing the bridge are gone but the bridge outlives the process that created it.
The twins not only play a role in the physical, like books and bridges, but also the mental. The mental is called belief. 125 million of us gather to pray together every Sunday. If the plan is to outlive the process that created it then Sunday morning is the process of strengthening the faith of the herd. The problem is 60 million of us pray on Sunday and cuss on Monday. This is a major perseverance problem that threatens the ability to adhere to faith. Somehow, almost half of us either missed the memo, didn’t understand it or Don’t care.
This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved .Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop. ~ Luke 8: 11-15
Here is another example for the kids. In the story of Noah and the Ark, two of every kind of animal reported to the Ark for a cruise. Has anyone ever considered the snail? I’m not sure how many snails were on the ark, maybe just two, but I bet more than that got the memo. Probably a third of all snails hit the ground running. Another third said “What ark?” The last third ignored the memo. Many of them were called but only a few made it.
“For many are invited, but few are chosen”