Persistence In The Face Of Opposition-My Personal Experience


Becoming more persistent in pursuing the right goals in life builds strength of  character and is a result of  endurance  against the mountain of adversity.   Throughout my personal experience  I sometimes  battled the negative forces of  opposition, and even though I appeared to be losing, I was actually winning.  I realize this after many trails.

I was born in the 1950’s and grew up in a single family home because my parents became divorce when I was only four, and my brother was a baby.  This was the first obstacle in my life, but I know now that it could have been worse.   I thank God for the care my mother gave me.   I decided to pursue success and not lead a precarious existence.  I found my self loving books, pencils, and pens.  The smell of new books, and the tools of writing and drawing attracted me.

Sometimes  I felt different from other children who had both parents, because I did not understand why my father figure was not around, but I also developed and experienced other gifts.  Other members of my family ,such as my uncles and grandfather, became my male role models, and I am thankful for their caring ways.  They were all great men.  I sincerely admit that I survived because I asked  God to help me, and he blessed me with survival skills  which helped to overcome bullies, narrow minded teachers, and the neighborhood.  God is real and he does give discernment.

Being always a keen observer, I noticed that most of the children my age had both parents at home, but these children did not really seem happy or nice.   I noticed their parents were the same, and they supported their evil children.  I knew this was wrong because I was a child too, and my mother always commented that I should be nice, and I was nice, but I also gained a toughness which was ladylike.  Even though I was not big, I had inner strength.   No apologizes for telling the truth.  My peers usually retaliated or took their problems out on others, and my brother had many confrontations with “bratty kids.”  It was always a gang mentality and never one on one.

Persistence enables courage to stand up for the rights of others .  My brother  would one day develop his  survival skills, but one day I had to come to his rescue.   A gang of boys confronted him while we were with our mother, and  I threw my Italian water ice at an aggressive boy and his  friends.   I really wanted to eat this treat, but I had to think of something to stop the fight.  My mother was to upset about the situation.

I warned them to leave my brother alone, and my actions broke up the confrontation.  I believe it was God’s strength who enabled me to do this.  It turned out that  my brother grew taller than most of his antagonist, and this also helped.  I had the strength to survive  growing up in a tough neighborhood as I took myself to and from school, but I learned to enjoy walking.   I called myself Speedy.

From persistence came endurance or strength in working harder in school and various employments.   I wanted to succeed.  Even though I am not famous and don’t need to be famous,  my creative nature manifested itself in different ways.    I remember drawing a picture of the Virgin Mary in Catholic grade school.  The fifth grade nun (religious teacher)  elaborated on my talents.

It was my maternal grandfather, Giorgio, who was the first to recognized my love for drawing.  I was five years old and he applauded my work.   I need to mention him, because I really admired him and saw that he had strength of character and a love for his family.  He was my first example of a hard worker, and he had a gentlemen’s dignity about him.   My grandfather always wore a suit and Stetson when he stepped out of the house, and when inside his home he wore a shirt, pants, and shoes.  He was a wonderfully elegant  man who once lost money in the great depression, but he was a survivor.

There were other obstacles in my way, but I really only had my mother, and sometimes in the face of opposition, she was more than enough.  She always told me to look to God for all the answers.   My mother could only do so much

In high school I developed an interest in music.  One of my prized possessions was a clarinet which the school let me borrow during my three years of playing in the high school orchestra.  I practiced everyday.   My mother somehow manage to buy me two gowns to wear when I played in the orchestra.   One gown was pink and the other was fuchsia.  I wore one gown the fist day and the second gown the next day to the special orchestral celebrations.   My mother always managed to get something I really wanted or really needed.  She was a miracle worker.

In my senior year, I did not want to play in the orchestra because I wanted to walk down the aisle at the cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul on graduation day in 1970.  I was thankful for this experience and it gave me a wonderful feeling.  There would be other graduations, but this was the best one with the most spiritual experience.  My wedding was another spiritually felt experience, but this occurred many years later.

It is important to  realized that gifts are often obtained through  perseverance.  If you have strength of character you will find courage, because you try to follow the right path.   Some people have been a positive inspiration to me, but  I believe I got my strength of character from my mother who believed in God.  Saint Paul writes in the book of Romans, Chapter 5, verses 3 to 5:  (Dove of Peace, Catholic edition).

“…we even boast of our afflictions, knowing that afflictions produces endurance, and endurance proven character, and proven character, hope, and hope does not disappoint because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts…”

I have found that being persistent in spite of trails and life’s tribulations is obtainable no matter what is endured, whatever we have to overcome we must pray for the strength to endure it.   In this way we do find success and have the victory.  Victory finds its way in spite of adversity.  Don’t worry about suffering  because the lessons learned from opposition builds a strong character.   No hope is lost when God backs your every move and you have the right intentions,  and through perseverance you will win like an  Olympian  in the game of life.



Eulogy Poem

Poem Dedicated to Nathan M. Smith

There are special people who touch the lives of many

And one is young Nathan M. Smith

And how can this be that knowing him was such a great gift?

It’s because of his goodness, his kindness, his wit

His awesomeness

His friendliness

Putting smiles on faces brought down

He chose to be your friend, and he is still around

On a skateboard up in heaven

He is looking down

Jesus made a place for Nathan where good souls go

He is there now, working greater things, so profound

Most honored to have met this young man

He was a joy to be around

His friends say he will never be forgotten

And if you enter Heaven you will spot him

Singing in God’s blessed choir

As the angels look down

They see the friends he prays for

Nathan was a good soul heaven bound.

We thank God to have known Nathan M. Smith

 September 5, 2012

The Mysterious Disappearance of Sister Joseph Marie (beginning only)

Sister Joseph Marie was not particularly well liked, at least not by most students in class, but there were a few students who admired her skills with geometric puzzles, and it was Amy who appreciated them the most.  “I understand her crabbiness” Amy told her friends, “and I know she never smiles, but I believe she is a good person.”  Amy thought that Sister Joseph always looked worried.

The stark halls of Saint Claire for Girls smelled of books and pencils, rulers and protractor, especially when you walked into Sister Joseph’s geometry class.  The sister had a favorite phase she would say after describing a geometry problem.  She would look up and say, “It’s all geometric.” One day the students entered the class to find a substitute teacher, Sister Marie.

“I am curious about Sister Joseph?” said Amy, as she approached Sister Marie. “Well, Amy, Sister has taken ill, and she is in a hospital in another state.  I am your new teacher.  Amy politely said thanks, said a prayer, and walked home.

It wasn’t until a year after graduation that Amy and three of her friends, Christine, Joyce, and Vivian each received mysterious unsigned letters with no return addresses.  Their class reunion was a week away, but who wrote the letters?  Amy opened her letter and it contained a geometric pattern with some writing.

Like patterns in a quilt you will find symmetry and congruence,

You will find what needs  found,.

It’s all geometric.

A geometry class room

The girls decided to take a walk to the library to search for ideas and investigate the design.    The word north was written on two of them and west on the other two.  Amy thought they were directional and she tried to remember where she had seen the design.  Then Amy said “It is North by North west” “Like the old Alfred Hitchcock movie.  We must travel northwest.”

Fiction – Strange Story (Brief Intro)

Travis knew his day was starting differently for two reasons.  It was Friday, July 13,  and a crow flew and landed at the edge of  his window.  Travis  believed these birds were messengers but not of the ordinary kind,  and the message was not always obvious.  He started to cough and hack with intestinal distress, and this was the way his body responded even though he did not smoke and was never sick.   All different signs and wonders manifested themselves throughout his twenty-four  years, but Travis already figured out most of them   His gift was both a blessing and a curse.  He knew something was about to occur, and he did not really want to know, but if he had to know, he was ready.  “You have true hillbilly vision”, his boss, Luke, at the drive through would say while pestering him to predict the lottery.  Travis said his gift did not work that way   Travis worked for Luke part-time, but his most treasured job was working for Steven’s mechanics shop where he repaired and detailed cars.  As if to bring Travis back to reality, the crow gave another, even louder, caw.  It wanted his attention badly.  The messenger gave one last peck at the window and flew away.  Travis decided to jump on his Harley and chase it. The sky had a serious dark hue to it, and it looked like rain, but there was no smell of the rain. Travis’ had time for the chase, because he did not have to work today.

He drove off and down into a valley chasing the bird, which appeared to pose on a tree as if waiting for him.  Travis viewed a  flock of moving clouds in the distance,  but the clouds quickly disappeared as he suddenly found himself behind an old car.  He found an intriguing thing, but he did not know why.

Poem dedicated to my mother

To My Mother-Remember Me

Are there ever any dreams in heaven?

Like those about winding roads

That leads you to remember me

With my small hand in yours

And will you pray for me?

Because I miss your eyes and smile

And the way you comforted me

In my heart of a small child

Will you not forget the bond we had?

As I told you all my cares

And you said to “trust in God

For he knows all your fears”

And you said you wish

You had money back then.

You never strive for fanciness

To broken to care about success

But the love that you had

You gave the best

From my heart of a poet

Mom you’re the best.

I remember when I ask my mother to pray for me, and I often did this even as a child.  I remember, believe it or not, this birthday. I think my cousin Carmel or my Aunt Josephine took this picture.