When you are afraid you can’t, take the next step.

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Courage happens when we keep on keeping on.  It’s almost a miracle.  I can’t tell you how many times I have looked at what seemed like a task or situation that was nigh impossible and decided that the only solution was to take the next step.  Sometimes the task is physical.  More often for me the task is mental, since that’s more me.  But since physical challenges are easier to picture, let me tell you about one that we worked on today.

Picture this.  My husband had erected a barrier fence to keep basketballs from rolling off the court and onto the street.   The fence was six feet tall and ran the width of the court.  Let’s say 24 feet.  End posts which had been dropped into four foot holes and embedded in concrete secured the fence.   Our task today was to remove the one remaining end post which was nestled under a fir tree that had grown up around it.

Backing away from this picture for a moment, let me rehearse some of what I was thinking as we tried one thing after the other to get the post to move just a little hoping that we’d soon see it coming out.  I was thinking, work from your strengths.  Working hard doesn’t do much good unless you are leveraging your strengths.  I was thinking, we need more power than either of us has individually.  My husband is a strong man.  I call him strong as an ox.  But in his physical strength alone there is no way he was going to budge that post.  We had already been using a long 4 x 6 with a chain wrapped around it and the post.  Then my husband brought out a car jack, some bricks, some blocks, different size wooden posts.  You’d have been impressed at his ingenuity.

So why do we take on tasks that are beyond our physical strength?  Why do we decide to keep on working on tasks that seem beyond our reach?

I think it is because when we keep on we gain more than simply beating the challenge.  We learn something about ourselves.  Tackling a challenge is satisfying when we find out that we have more reserves than we knew; we have more creativity than we had seen before; we have more stick-to-it-tiveness than we imagined.  We want something enough to keep at it believing that  success is inevitable, if we don’t quit.

I guess we’ll be back at that post project again tomorrow.

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