Rev. Cathy Harrington
The theme for February is PERSEVERANCE. The Dalai Lama once said, “If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.” Children seem to be born with the innate ability to persevere. Learning to walk, to talk, to eat with a spoon, to ride a bicycle. None of these things are easy, but the will to succeed outweighs the frustration.
I can’t even count how many times I attempted to quit smoking. In a moment of resolve, I would toss an entire pack of cigarettes out the car window only to stop at the next exit and buy another pack. I took a stop smoking class and endured photos and videos of cancerous lungs and people smoking cigarettes through a hole in their throat. If that wasn’t enough to make you quit, nothing would. I was still smoking when the class gathered for a reunion, but instead of shaming me, the teacher looked me in the eyes and told me that he knew that I would be able to quit. “You’ll succeed,” he promised. “You will succeed when the desire to quit outweighs the desire to smoke.” I quit smoking within one year of that conversation.
Perseverance is easier when we help one another. No one could quit smoking for me, but that teacher believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. This story was included in the resources from Soul Matters this month.
Rabbi David Wolf tells a story that we all should carry with us this month:
A boy and his father were walking along a road when they came across a large stone. “Do you think if I use all of my strength, I can move this rock?” the child asked. His father answered, “If you use all of your strength, I am sure you can do it.” The boy began to push the rock. Exerting himself as much as he could, he pushed and pushed. The rock did not move. Discouraged, he said to his father, “You were wrong. I can’t do it.” His father put his arm around the boy’s shoulder and said, “No son. You didn’t use all your strength – you didn’t ask me to help.”
What a wonderful reminder; we need one another! When you are feeling too tired to go it alone, ask for help. This is the gift of beloved community.
See you in church!