Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Perseverance, Character, and Hope 

COVID interrupted everyone’s life. That’s a given. However, during the pandemic, my daughter, son-in-law, and four grandchildren moved from their small Cape Cod house seated on a postage stamp yard in Kenosha to a spacious home situated on a sprawling park-like two acre lot further north in Wisconsin. This summer I finally had the opportunity to visit. 


It is always good to wrap my arms around my family. It was particularly comforting to be a part of the day-to-day life of my daughter and her tribe. I celebrated the end of school with them on Friday. We explored “The Domes” botanical gardens on Saturday. On Sunday I attended church with my sweet ones and met some of their friends.


We talked, played, visited, and walked. The grandkids took me on a tour of their backyard and we roasted marshmallows over the fire pit. Time together is a treasure. As my youngest daughter says, “It fills your tank.”


While visiting, Matthias, my eleven-year-old grandson was to try out for an elite soccer team. He’s played summer soccer a few years. The tryouts for this travel team were held the week of my visit. Many of the kids in the select soccer program play all year long. Many have played together for years. Matthias headed out anyway, committed to do his best. 


A few hours later his dad brought him home from the first night of trials. “It was brutal,” Tim told us. 


This Guy. He Inspires Me.



I ached for my grandson. At first. Then I recognized the power of the experience. I told Matthias how one year, his Aunt Kendall decided to try out for the Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestra (CSYO). The program was demanding and accepted only the best musicians. 


Kendall secured the audition piece and took it to her violin teacher. 


“You will fall flat on your face!” the teacher told her. She then turned to me. “Those kids she’ll be up against have been playing violin since they were three years old. She’ll fall flat on her face! Then what?”


“Then I’ll be there to pick her up,” I said.


Kendall was heading to a music camp that summer. She took the audition piece with her. In addition to the music the campers practiced and performed, Kendall’s camp instructor helped her learn the audition piece. 


She came home and put her name in the CSYO hat. The audition came and although Kendall did her best, she did not make the roster. 


But…because of her hard work and determination to improve her skills as a violinist, she auditioned for the Middletown Youth Orchestra and made first chair.


What a good reminder to me. 


I leave my kiddos in Wisconsin soon. From here I head to a major writing conference near Chicago. Like my grandson, I’m not in the same league with many of the writers I’ll be rubbing elbows with at this conference. I’ll be sitting at the feet of masters of the craft of writing. 


I needed this reminder of who I am. I need to remember to humble myself to the teaching I’ll receive. I need to remind myself to practice my craft if I want to score those goals. 


Romans 5:3-5 is a good reminder for us all…okay, me in particular:


…we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.






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