Endurance, in a race or struggle, is what enables us to finish, even when we are tired, hurting, and feel we may be able to go no farther.
Exhaustion, pain, suffering—these are things we endure along the way.
How we endure them speaks to our character.
The roots of endurance imply hardness, a solid, unbreakable quality, a determination to continue, a hardening against that which opposes us and would stop or slow us down.
But I believe the most significant sense of endurance is that of enduring—to outlast, to be that which endures when all else is gone.
Endurance requires strength, the strength to keep walking the path when the terrain is rough or steep and there are obstacles in the way.
Endurance requires patience, a patience with self and one’s own limitations that says, I will go at my own pace, I can do this, I can finish. And the patient knowledge that we will outlast those who oppose us.
Endurance requires wisdom, the wisdom to know when to rest and when to continue, to stay focused on the goal ahead, and to avoid becoming disheartened and discouraged.
And endurance requires grace, the grace to accept that suffering (the kind that happens, not the unnecessary kind to which unhealthy people often subject us), is part of life and the cycle of growth and personal development; and the grace to endure without anger or bitterness, two emotions that, if we hold onto them, will remove all the joy from crossing the finish line.
To endure does not mean to accept, abide, or forbear.
To endure does not mean to tolerate what harms us but to walk out the often treacherous path of getting away from it.
We won’t endure in our lives by accepting abuse, allowing our boundaries to be disrespected, or letting our selves be trampled.
To endure means to stick it out and get to a place where we no longer accept, allow, or let those things happen
A place where we’re free of what pushes us down and holds us back.
A place where we’re free to be and express ourselves and create, through our actions and contributions, an enduring legacy.
Originally published on Tom Aplomb