Because you have kept my commandment to persevere, I will keep you safe in the time of trial which is coming for the whole world, to put the people of the world to the test. I am coming soon: hold firmly to what you already have, and let no one take your victor’s crown away from you. Revelation 3:10-11
When I called, you answered me; You increased my strength within me. The LORD will make good His purpose for me; O LORD, Your love endures forever; do not abandon the works of Your hands. Psalm 138
So last night I after I came home from family dinner during which Everette beguiled all of us with her delighted attachment to Dre’s new two-seater convertible, I graded 63 essays. Over the Thanksgiving break I had the kiddos self-select an autobiography to read and for the final exam they dissected What had made this person’s life worth living?
And so last night I read over and over and over about perseverance, and what it looks like on the football field, in the prisoner of war and concentration camps, with chomped off arms and crushed legs, and through loneliness and rejection and failure.
It sort of reminds me of Benjamin Franklin’s maxim about the only sure thing in life is death and taxes. Except different. What is true is this: I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.
And the other thing that I read over and over and over was that Love conquers all. And how loving the LORD my God with all my heart, strength and mind looks a lot like loving my neighbor as myself. And somehow I found it very cheering that in the midst of all of these donuts and chocolate milk for homeroom and pizza parties in every class and Secret Santas and White Elephant gifts and yet one more tray of Christmas cookies, that one of my kiddos included in his Christmas in Brazil report for oddly enough Spanish class because it is going to include a little lesson on the similarities and differences of the two Romanic languages, the neighbor thing. The neighbor over there. And his integrative activity was having each of his fellow classmates bring in a small gift for a street kid, and Fernanda sent me her mom’s address this morning and her church is going to distribute them, and somehow all of this is very cheering. Sort of like the winding up of The Christmas Carol that I read out loud to my English class in a darkened candlelit room yesterday too, the joy that comes from considering well this life. And after those ghostly visits Scrooge was a new man who saw life with new eyes.
He went to the church, and walked about the streets, and watched the people hurrying to and for, and patted the children on the head, and questioned beggars, and looked down into the kitchens of homes, and up to the windows, and found that everything could yield him pleasure. He had never dreamed of any walk, that anything, could give him so much happiness.
Everything could yield him pleasure.
So be it.