When my girls were little, they loved going to gymnastic class. They would put on their cute little leotards and spend a couple hours each week jumping and climbing and tumbling. At the end of each semester, parents were invited to come into the class to watch our children “perform” on the balance beam, the trampoline and the uneven bars. At the end of the class, Olympic music would play, and the students would each receive a ribbon for their participation. Believe me, it was a big deal.
My daughter Hannah had to be one of the cutest little gymnasts around, and I loved to watch as she joyfully walked across the balance beam, did somersault after somersault, and swung from the bars like her life depended on it. She was determined and focused and loved every minute of the class, but for whatever reason, she just could not jump more than an inch off of the ground, no matter how hard she tried. One activity included hopping down a trampoline-like runway (a “tumble track”) to a big blue block, jumping three times until you gained enough airtime to land on top of the block, where you would do some superstar pose with your arms in the air, jump down and continue to the next activity. I watched as Hannah hopped along the runway, only to hit a dead end at the blue block, unable to get her cute little legs to create enough spring to jump to the top. She literally would throw herself into the side of the block, as if some strange gravitational force refused to let her gain any airtime. I had to bite my lip to keep from laughing (ok, I might have laughed a little) and clapped as Hannah finally just crawled onto the stupid blue block, did her superstar pose, and happily went on her merry way. She never stopped smiling.
At times, my life feels like that more than I care to admit, except unlike Hannah, I am not all smiles about it. There are certain struggles in my life that I just keep banging up against and no matter how much I try to bounce above the obstacles, I just keep hitting them, over and over again. The reality is that I am often a big baby and if I were literally on a tumble track, I would most likely look around the room, start to cry, and go running to the locker room, where someone would have to coax me to come and try again. I often find myself wondering what it takes to be someone who is resilient and determined in spite of and because of the obstacles.
I want to share a video that gives me hope when I consider what perseverance looks like. It reminds me that perseverance is not easy and that goals take hard work and long hours. I also think it is connected with gratitude, because without a thankful heart, it is easy to focus on all the ways life can be unfair and hard instead. As this beautiful woman shares so wisely, “I might be having a bad day, but I am having a day.” Thankful today for the hope in this story.