Watching the Facebook updates for my friend Mary as she underwent two surgeries in two days at the Cleveland Clinic this week has me thinking about endurance. Mary's fight with colon cancer began last spring. Another friend has been battling cancer of the appendix for almost two years. Another friend had breast cancer a few years ago and is doing well now. A friend's mother battled colon cancer for ten years...ten years she would not have had if she had not endured, not fought, not turned a deaf ear to her doctors' words of hopelessness.
“There is a strength of a quiet endurance as significant of courage as the most daring feats of prowess.” Henry Tuckerman
“Suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope." Romans 5:3-4
"One man scorned and covered with scars still strove with his last ounce of courage to reach the unreachable stars; and the world was better for this." Don Quixote
“Endurance is not just the ability to bear a hard thing, but to turn it into glory.” William Barclay
I endured depression. I am enduring the challenges of having a child with autism...endurance which, quite frankly, hasn't felt very hard because, unlike with the depression, I'm not enduring this challenge alone at all. It's not locked in my head but in my heart, which is walking around outside my body in the form of an adorable, sweet boy. God, George, and dozens of doctors, teachers, therapists, family, and friends are right beside Jack--and beside me, too. But I also wonder if my positive attitude toward Jack's diagnosis and the overall ease of this endurance are not the result of the lessons in endurance I had in my youthful battle with depression.
What have you endured that made you stronger? It doesn't necessarily have to be tragic or a life-and-death struggle, either. I have friends now who are enduring deployment of loved ones, adjustments to living in a new place, the looming empty nest, the long grief for loved ones, and the search for career following divorce.
Please share your story of endurance and hope.