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Gentle Virtues

Pulling Together--Prescriptions for Daily Life

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06/01/2007 - The time has come. My husband Randy girds his waist with the end of a long, thick rope. Our children Simon (12), Marcelle (6), John (4) and our twelve-year-old friend Rachel, along with myself, line up before him and take position. The signal is given and the unforgettable tug-of-war begins.

Exuberant families cheer for us on the field at Poison Spider School. They drown out the calls of the red-winged blackbirds and western meadowlarks.

Our competition is relentless. We take turns gaining and losing ground. Sometimes we're deadlocked. They put our strength and endurance to the utmost test.

I want to give up but I can feel the steadiness and strength of my husband. I want to ease up but I think of our kids and our friend giving their best. The crowd's waves of encouragement surge into my heart and I resist becoming fainthearted.

With screaming muscles and burning lungs, we inch the rope our way. One of the our friends leans close to us and calls out, "You are almost there! You just about have it!" My toes curl more tightly and I dig all the harder into the sand.

Jointly and ever so slowly, we move the red flag past our cone. We have won! We have won!

Having to fight so hard for so long, the victory is sweet...incredibly sweet. Now we get to savor it together.

While our muscles are healing and we are rehydrating ourselves, I think of the ways we pull together as family. We share household chores and we work together to stay within our budget. Then there are the vexing tug-of-wars of sickness, injury and loss of life, the times we had to pull against despair and work to hold onto our hope. Particularly in those times, endurance was worked into us.

Endurance. Noah Webster describes it as "lastingness". It is "bearing or suffering without yielding". We know it by its nickname, patience.

Its baseword, endure, comes from the latin work "durus" which means "hard, is set, fixed". To have endurance is to have fixed determination, not in a rebellious, destructive manner but in a steady, constructive way.

With endurance we can pull together with family members and friends who are being pulled away by depression, hardships or harmful influences. By combining our strength and devotion, we can help each other resist being overcome and together we can be overcomers

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