Perseverance. That's a big word. It's an even bigger concept. So we can put this big word in context, some synonyms are doggedness, steadfastness, persistence, tenacity, resolute, and unyielding. I particularly like this description that I found at dictionary.com: "Tenacity, with the original meaning of adhesivness, as of glue, is a dogged and determined holding on. Whether used literally or figuratively it has favorable implications: a bulldog quality of tenacity."
"As of glue." I don't know that I ever would have thought of perseverance in that way, but it fits. We probably all have said "stuck like glue" in reference to something in our lives. What we didn't realize is that we were defining perseverance in a material way. My first thought about a synonym for perseverance was "making it through", though that has a much more negative connotation. My personal favorite is "doggedness." That's a fun word to say. Go ahead, say it out loud - "doggedness." It rolls off the toungue funny doesn't it?
Despite the words or phrases we may use to define it, perseverance is a very important trait. If we think about it enough, we will all be able to come up with at least one example of how we persevered through something in our lives. If you're like me, songs about surviving and defeating some sort of problem - those "we're stronger because type of anthem - make us tear up and puff our chest out a little further and say, "Yeah! That's me!" Our own national anthem is one of those very songs. We feel a little something in connection with the writers who seemed to pen our very emotions into a song.
It's easiest to talk about perseverance when you're not in the middle of your storm. For examples, ask those in Japan whose lives are now unraveled by recent events. Or ask those who survived the September 11 attacks or Hurricane Katrina. They might or might not think they have persevered as of yet. They may still be in the middle of their fight and are persevering, but have yet to discover the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel (and I truly do understand that phrase but that's for another post). And I think that may be the biggest difference between persevering and surviving.
Surviving is something you do when all you can do is wake up each morning this side of the sod. It's not living. It's not being victorious. It's not being joyous at what each day can bring. It's simply that - surviving - breathing, waking, eating, sleeping. Being a survivor brings with it a negative feeling. In order to be a survivor you faced death or the possibility of it in some way. Couple that with our basic survival instinct and you can end up shaken to your very core.
But to persevere! To not just make it through, but make it through with bulldog tenacity, wth doggedness, with steadfastness. To know you came out on the other end not just surviving, but living. That is where I want to be. That is where I was. Then my storm came. The eye of the storm has passed, but those winds and rising waters just keep lapping at my door and the sound above me like that of a jet engine disturb my sleep. There are moments where the sun shines through for a bit and the winds die down. But I know it's not yet over. It will be, but not yet. It's from those moments of sushine that I draw my strength to keep "surviving" so that I can "persevere" through my storm. I don't want to just survive. I want to live.