So often, especially in these United States, we think about victory as winning: the next great job, the next game, the bigger house and soon it’s time for the playoffs and the championship game. Americans are proud of our military might. World War II remains our greatest feat in battle. Yes, we endured, surely our soldiers and citizens back home endured. In the end as Admiral Yamamoto said, it was our industrial might and our ability to focus it, sustain it, that won the day. We did not do it without our allies.
But when I think of endurance, I think of Britain who persevered and sacrificed, holding the fort until we got up to speed. Britain had a very close call. Endurance implies the ability to keep on, keeping on out of seemingly endless oppression and suffering. I think of Jesus toting his cross up the slope of Golgotha. Somehow, one can’t romanticize endurance like you can the “glory” of a cavalry charge. Poland endured. Czechoslovakia endured. Latvia endured. There are thousands of Syrians enduring. The Jews endure. Sodbusters endured. Endurance is struggling with no sign of help and relief. For a time endurance was Valley Forge. Endurance is the mind game Sisyphus must play to continue his unending rolling of the boulder up a hill, down and up, down and up. Endurance operates when hope remains the barest dream, if that. Endurance has no vision of trophies and laurels. It sees no golden retirement.
So what is it that endurance conquers? I think it is despair.
Steadfast and cautious,