Perseverance despite reluctance

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Several years ago…back in the ’80’s when I thought I knew almost everything…I began to learn about the concept of perseverance. It took a week of painting a fence for a neighbor to begin to understand what it is to keep moving forward even when I would have rather been doing anything else.  So, I began to learn. Outdoors in temperatures of 90 degrees with humidity that seemed to match.  Oil based paint that could only be cleaned off my slimy, stinky skin with a gasoline soaked rag at the end of each day. A horrid shade of green. Relentless gnats.

It was my dad’s idea…I owed him some money and he thought it would be the perfect plan for me (and my brother who was also “conned” in the deal) to pay off my debt through helping out our neighbor and maybe even learn something in the process.  I learned.  I learned that no matter how much I detested the job, sometimes I just can’t walk away.  My brother and I learned to laugh at the awfulness of the job instead of griping the whole day, because after a while, who was going to listen anyway?  I learned the importance of protecting my eyes from the stinging paint flying into my eyes when using a roller on a chain linked fence…and have discovered through the years that I must protect myself from other’s stings as well.  And when that damn fence was finally finished, I was pleased with myself.  We’d finished the job and our neighbor was grateful.  Meanwhile I was grateful for the memories made with my brother, the stories, and another story to add to our family’s long list of “one day this will be funny” moments to share with others.  I even earned one dollar.  I think Dad gave that to me just so I’d think that I at least made money on the deal.

The next Christmas, my brother and I were each presented with a “perseverance” award.  Dad had saved tools with that awful paint still on them and made the awards himself.  Dad passed away almost 14 years ago…yet the lessons learned remain with me as I persevere.  I keep going.  I try to not complain. I laugh. And, I (attempt) to protect myself from my own self-criticism and harmful-intended criticisms.


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