There is a playground on the property of our church. It is a very nice one that was developed in memory of one of our children who lost her life in a tragic way. It was developed primarily for use by our church members, but it is open to all from our community. One of the playground's most frequent guests is a young girl who will come and, for hours, simply swing.
I'm usually not surprised to see her on the swing. When I come and go from my office, frequently we will wave to each other as I pass by. But one day the temperature was freezing. In fact the temperature gage said 22! Yet, there she was, swinging on the swing. What in the world could this mean?
I got out of my car and asked her, "Are you 'ok'?" She assured me she was. I asked her, "Are you cold?" She said, "a little bit." "Why are you out here swinging?" She replied, "I just love to swing and a little bit of cold weather isn't going to stop me!" I told her not to get too cold and waved as I drove away. As I drove from the scene my initial thought was, "this is kind of crazy," but as I thought about it I had to admit, "at least she's doing the thing she really enjoys." I then began to ask myself, "How many times do people today (myself included) allow an obstacle to get in the way of something they really love?" The answer is simply far too often!
Obstacles can come in many forms. Criticism is one of the biggest ones. People try a new venture but then receive some negative (sometimes constructive) feedback and they give up. The obstacle may come in response to a project we are working on and we are shocked when we find that not everyone is on board with our goals. Maybe our passion requires a team approach and one or more of the team members is constantly throwing cold water on our ideas. Or maybe it is a personal goal but our progress seems too slow. Discouragement sets in and we set the goal aside.
Well, a little cold weather wasn't going to stand in the way of one young girl who liked to swing. She was going to enjoy herself, even if her feet and face got a little cold. Her determination caused me to stop, think, and consider the quality of perseverance in my life. Perhaps it provides you food for thought as well?
Dr. Allen Schneider is a United Methodist pastor and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist presently serving the Sapulpa and greater Tulsa communities.