NANCY G. SHAPIRO

FINDING CALM IN THE MIDST OF CHANGE

The Gift of Persistence

August 23, 2009

 

Walking up the hilly streets into town this morning to do some errands, I noticed how much stronger my legs were after three months of a consistent workout program. My self-congratulations were cut short by the sight of an old man, his head and shoulders so hunched that his face was parallel to the ground. He moved up the same steep hill as I did at the steady pace of three inches per step. Yes, three inches.

 

It is his persistence that speaks to me today. What I see before me is a human being set on getting somewhere no matter how long it takes, and for all I know it may not even be his destination that fuels the man on his walk this morning. It may be that it’s a beautiful, clear, fresh-smelling day, the air cleaned by last night’s rain after weeks of drought, the sun on his shoulders, the greetings of his friends.

 

The projects that had come to a complete halt this last week are no longer so daunting. The inspiration to take action isn’t present today. Yet thanks to a stranger’s example, I can feel it waking up inside of me like a determined green shoot of energized willpower. One step, or brick, or sentence, or smile at a time—that’s how a journey is taken, a home built, a book written, a day lived well. I’m glad I walked up a different street this morning, grateful his steps were there to follow.

 

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