Perseverance (dictionary definition): steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., esp. in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.
Perseverance (my examples): my husband, my mom and my childhood cat Puffy.
As a young child my cat taught me the first lesson of perseverance that I was able to understand. My mother was a stellar example of perseverance but it wasn’t until I was older that I understood the battle that she had won against Hodgkin’s Disease with dignity, strength and purpose. On the other hand with my cat’s example I was better able to comprehend as a young girl.
Growing up all of my best friends lived within the walls of my home. That circle included my brother, mother, father, a cat named Smokey, a cat named Puffy and a dog named Tora. We moved every few years so it was handy for me to keep that circle within the confines of my family. Puffy was in all ways my cat. I had chosen her and she had chosen me. We did everything together. She faithfully followed me all over the house, neighborhood and to school. She went out into the world to find me prizes that she would proudly deposit at my feet on a regular basis. She slept with me and when I cried she licked away the tears. I loved her dearly.
We lived on Westlake Drive in Desoto, Texas when I was between the ages of five and eight. My cat was an indoor outdoor cat that wandered the vacant fields around our home to hunt wildlife to bring home to me. Even with her adventures she was always home by dark. One night, much to our surprise, she didn’t show up. We searched the streets calling, “here kitty, kitty, kitty” expecting her to run up to us at any moment. Instead I went to bed for the first time since I was two years old without my beloved cat.
The next day, first thing in the morning, I ran to the back door expecting her to be sitting by the door crying to come in, but she wasn’t there. Again we searched the neighborhood all day and night looking for Puffy with no luck at all. And in the morning, again, I ran to the back door expecting her to be there and she wasn’t. This pattern repeated for nearly two weeks. I was heartbroken. My parents lead many search parties in those weeks. Then finally they told me that it had been too long and that I had to accept that she was never going to be there at the backdoor or anywhere at all. It was a truth too difficult for me to swallow.
The next morning I couldn’t help myself, I looked expectedly out the backdoor in hopes of a miracle. Finally, that next day, the day I had promised myself would be the last day that I hoped to find her, there her broken body was lying on the cement porch. She was very obviously injured but Puffy was actually alive and on my back porch. She lifted her head and purred as I dropped to my knees to greet her. She was unable to stand up. I was overjoyed to see her and ran to wake my parents with the news. When we came back she attempted to lift her broken body off the concrete, but she could only get her two front legs below her.
We rushed her to the vet with great care. The x-ray showed that her diaphragm had been torn and that all of her organs were pressing against her heart. The vet preformed emergency surgery immediately. He determined that she had been hit by a car the day she vanished. She had spent two weeks dragging her broken body home with her two front feet. She had chosen not to go off and die, but instead to trust and return to her family. With dogged determination and perseverance she came home.
Puffy went on to live a long life with me. She died a few days short of her 21st birthday. As she lay dying in my arms, again, her only concern was me. She purred and licked away my tears as her body gave out on her. She was a scrappy little cat that throughout the years taught me and retaught me the lesson of perseverance.
We can all learn alot from my cat Puffy. Never give up. Even with no strength dig deeper. When your heart is heavy move on and go towards your goal even if you have to drag yourself. Trust that getting there will be worth it and perservere against the odds.
Carolyn Hawkins says
Wonderful, touching story…