For almost 20 years we have walked at least a couple times per week. My son had just entered Kindergarten when we began and now he is away in grad school. We became friends when I ran her school committee campaign. Over the years, we have weathered ice and snow and wicked heat. We have rules now that were not present at the beginning. We only walk if it is above 15 or below 95. Most days, though, are sunny and warm, perfect for walking. At least that is what I recall. We walk slower now, but it's the same five miles that takes us along the river. The view one day this week was breath- taking. The water was still,with a mist rising on the far shore. The boats thinned out due to the lateness of the season, now stood out singular and angular. The marsh grasses shimmered golden in the morning light. Shorebirds fished. We both longed for a camera or canvas.
The point, if there is one, is that persistence gives you many gifts, some not planned. It would have been easy to give up the walk many times. In the past 20 years, I went to grad school and got divorced. My friend struggled with back, knee and feet problems. Our kids grew and fledged. We persisted. The need for exercise was why we began but I suspect, if that were the only gift, we would long ago have found a more effective or more convenient way to move our bodies. The unintended gifts are many: friendship, deeper appreciation of the natural world, a shared experience to name a few.
It may be that the whole point of the passage about the widow and the unjust judge is about the gift of persistence. When we persist at something, we gain an intimacy with the experience that only comes through time. It's something we know in our bodies that cannot be gained any other way. The widow persisted despite the odds, and the judge finally gave way. The needs of the world can seem overwhelming. We can choose to do one thing and do it again and again and again. It may make all the difference.
See you Sunday!