Perspective of Persevering and Waiting in Hope

September 16, 2022

Awards for “Ever Steadfast,” “Great Attitude,” and “Big Heart” were given to our grandchildren the last evening of our camping-hiking holiday, in recognition of the perseverance that enabled them to complete this 50 km segment of the Bruce Trail. Sometimes I also need to be reminded of my capacities to persevere.

Often what is insurmountable is the perception of the enormity of what is before us. In the first hour of our first day of hiking, “Ann” at 9 ½ years, the oldest and most able to see the big picture, said, “this is too far!” I did the math for her, saying, “the average person walks 4 km an hour, so this hike should only take about 2 hours, not the whole day.” “Oh, OK. I can do that!”

Each of the kids had their moments when they felt that they couldn’t go on. A break, a peanut butter sandwich, a swig of Gatorade or water, and a pep talk would give them a new wind. 

We were prepared for rain but only had to pull out our raincoats once during a hike. What I wasn’t really prepared for was hours of rain in the afternoon and evening of our last day at our tented campsite. I said to my husband “Wim” and to our daughter, “maybe we should just pack up and go home this evening. We can come back another day to finish the last 5.5 km of the trail.” Wim’s: “let’s wait and see whether it’s still raining in the morning.” Our daughter concurred.

Déjà vu to our new village home in Tanzania in 1990. We had returned to Tanzania three months earlier with our three children aged, 4 months to 8 years. Three months in a hostel and finally we had our house contents transported across the country to our new home. It was 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) when we arrived in the village. With some local help we immediately started organizing what was most essential for that day. As soon as the chickens were moved out, we began to wash down that bedroom where we would sleep that night under mosquito nets.

I wasn’t feeling very well by supper time so Wim took the kids out to eat at the local kiosk. The next morning, I still wasn’t feeling very well and I said to Wim, “I want to go home to Canada.” He said, “Wait until tomorrow.” The same thing happened the next day, and the next day. Every day I complained of being sick while he looked after the kids and unpacked. Then I went to the clinic and learned I had malaria, (at least now I had an excuse!) Soon I was feeling better and looking forward to our new life in the village.

In the midst of a challenging, difficult and/or oppressive time it’s hard to remember that “this too shall pass.” Sometimes we get by in living from day to day, sometimes its hour by hour, sometimes its moment by moment. I have even learned to recognize my own mood rhythms – “Oh yeah – it’s 4 p.m., I can’t trust my 4 p.m. judgements. I usually feel better by 7 p.m.”

On our camping trip the rain let up around 5 p.m. and the kids came out of the tent to ride bikes and play in the drizzly, muddy outdoors. It was enough to give us all a breather. Wim was still saying, “wait until tomorrow,” and by 7 p.m. I began to feel that it might be possible to finish our hike in the morning. “Tomorrow” dawned, not sunny, but dry and we were able to finish our hike.

Gratitude Prompt: Give thanks for hope of tomorrows and for those who remind us of that hope when our own dwindles.