I had breakfast with the retired pastor of my church. There was no real agenda except to catch up with one another’s life. However, I was interested in steering the conversation into some areas of parish history so that I would have perspective about various issues. As I listened to this seventy-year-old priest I was conscious of how hard he has worked all his ministerial life. And not only how hard he worked but how much he cared. After twenty-five years of ministry I often find myself worn by the increasing demands of Church life. When confronted with obstacles and negativity, my inner voice tells me to flee, abandon and run! Mayday! Lower the lifeboats and PUSH OFF!! So when I find myself in the company of people who persevere in the midst of disappointment I am filled with great respect and humility.
There are circumstances where walking away is absolutely the prudent response but when I see a couple celebrating a forty or fifty-year anniversary and still enjoying each other’s company or a long-term teacher with continued zeal for enlightening students, I am filled with admiration and wonder. There are clerics who work hard to preach sermons and homilies so that congregations can be strengthened and nourished. I encounter weary employees standing behind cash registers never too bored to offer a smile and an encouraging greeting. We inhabit a culture where everything is becoming more litigious, more labyrinthine, more exhausting and consequently more and more of us walk away from churches, schools, business and relationships out of frustration and defeat. The people who endure with good humor and faith are my heroes. Because of these living saints I think I can keep smiling, keep praying, keep searching for the next belly laugh and keep believing that with God anything is possible.He that can’t endure the bad will not live to see the good~ Jewish Proverb