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.