If you know how to soldier on, applause for you today! For no reason whatsoever I dedicate this day to the noble art of perseverance.
Those who persist when the going gets tough rank among the elite in my book. It’s hard work, being noble. Endurance takes grit and grace because pain hurts and fear is frightening. It’s easier to give up than to soldier on.
I had to meet my magazine deadlines last week with what felt like a red-hot spear buried in my neck, and that’s what started a preoccupation with fortitude. I have a bad habit of doing all my assignments in one long 11th-hour session, fine when you’re young and strong but my cervical vertebrae are disintegrating now, and I sustained a whiplash injury seven weeks ago when a Suburban plowed into my car at a crosswalk.
As I worked at the computer last week, someone heated the fireplace poker to red-hot and then plunged it into my neck. There it burned relentlessly until I sent off my last story (on time) and went prone for two days. Then we went to see Steven Spielberg’s War Horse this weekend.
I had to clap my hands over my mouth to stifle the exclamations that wanted to burst out. War Horse contains moments that myths are made of, and a lot of sheer nobility. From the first battle charge an hour into the film, men and horses mine the depths of sacrificial bravery in one concussive nightmare after another in that terrible war.
Modern life also offers ample opportunities to prove we’re capable of courage. If you’re persevering through difficulty today, I salute you.