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Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Resolute Life

Resolute: adj. having or showing a fixed, firm purpose; determined; resolved; unwavering.

Synonyms ---- strong-minded, determined, resolved, unwavering, steady, steadfast, firm, true, set, decided, unshaken, persevering, unflagging, unfaltering, persistent, persisting, constant, set upon, intent upon, stubborn, faithful, uncompromising, unyielding, strong-willed, dogged, self-reliant, enduring, indefatigable, purposeful, adamant, independent, immovable, unshakable, die-hard, hellbent, gritty, noble, unmoved, untiring.

I've been watching a PBS special this week entitled "The War". If you ever get a chance to view this documentary, do so. Not only does it chronicle World War II, but it interviews the men and women that fought that war.

I've always been fascinated by the courage of the soldiers. I've also respected the honorable and respectful lives most people lived during that era.

All week long I've thought about my life. I thought about all the times I've whined and cried over my little problems. Over the last few months I've cried a room full of tears. But watching the sacrifices of those people leaves me in awe of their "resolute" lives. Their dedication to principles and goals were astounding. Several times the narrator would announce how impossible an interaction should have been, but the bravery and determination of the men overcame the overwhelming odds they faced.

I wish I knew his name, but I don't. There is a gentleman who has no arms, but he learned to play classical music on the guitar. How? With his toes. What? Yep! with his toes. Astounding. Can you imagine the pain for the first few weeks? The awkward inability to do anything but sound awful. How many times was he frustrated? How many times did he ask himself why he was doing this and would he ever be successful?

I've mentioned the movie "The Pursuit of Happyness" before. It's a difficult movie to watch - but you must see it. The first 3/4th of the movie deals with one setback after another. Like a good soldier this man with a "resolute" life continues to push. Just one more time. Cry. Endure one more indignity. Just one more time get up, push forward, march on.

Did you know that Walt Disney went bankrupt 7 times? Why didn't he quit after two times? Did he ask himself after the 5th time - "Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I don't really know what I'm doing." What if he had quit after the 7th time. "That's it. I'm done. I'm not going to go through this again." Can you imagine America without Micky Mouse?

My Dad tells a story about a miner in California. He moved his family out during the gold rush. For 20 years he worked away eking out just enough to keep himself alive. He lost his wife, his home, his children. Ping, ping he labored on digging his pick into the black cave. His ears echoed with the scrap of the wheelbarrow as he pushed excess dirt out of the mine. His mind felt emptied of every thought as he continues with the drone of the work he had chosen.

Then one day he snapped. He couldn't take the loneliness, the poverty and the growl of his stomach any longer. With all his might he drove his pick into the end of the cave and walked out.

No one would blame him. He had lost it all. It was too hard. It had been too long. He had struggled to long. He was tired. No one would blame him. Quitting was the right thing to do.

Several years later someone bought the property. In their first evaluation of the cave they pulled the pick out of the wall. It took several tugs. When it released there was a sparkle. Could it be? Another ping of the pick revealed gold. When it was assessed, it was the deepest, richest and largest gold mine in all of California.

Life is hard. But it is even harder for those who live life looking for comfort. It's the Resolute life that is filled with gold. Maybe not the gold you think you want, but gold none the less.

I don't have everything I want. I haven't accomplished everything I would like. I still pray for relationships within my family. How can I find gold?

I find gold in the love of my family. I find gold in the "pursuit" rather than the "happyness". I find gold in my salvation. And most of all, I find gold in a grateful heart.

I am grateful that I have a home in a world where 1/4 of the world is homeless. I am grateful that I have plenty to eat in a world where most go to bed hungry. I am grateful that I have a job when many people sit with nothing to do. I am grateful that I am not in a concentration camp. I am grateful that I am not hiding in the basement while the German Army invades my town. I am grateful that I do not have to face a gas chamber. I am grateful that I am free to pray. I am grateful that wonderful, talented men and women have given their precious lives so that I can be free.

When it comes down to it, all of us have something to be grateful for. In the documentary, "The War", one young imprisoned teen writes from a camp in Manila..."For Thanksgiving we have 1/2 can of spam, (there were 4 in her family) one extra cup of rice, three leaves of lettuce from our sparse garden and watered down coffee. We are so blessed. We are not as sick as some in the camp and we are grateful that we are together."

Is your life worse than that? Probably not. You are reading this on a computer. You are probably free.

Resolve to make your life better. Resolve to fight on, to do all you can until the day you die to make your life even a little better. Resolve that while death or problems may come your way...Resolve that you will follow the advice of Welsh poet Dylan Thomas.

"Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light,
Do not go gentle into that good night."

Resolve to be your best.

God loves you,


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