The Road of Persistence: A Project Good Word Musical Challenge
The Birth of This Series
As Jo explained: "When I was growing up for the most part my mother told us 'if you can't say something nice, then don't say anything at all...! It's not polite and it shows you are uneducated if you can't say something without hurting someone deliberately.
“These things are not productive and don't make any sense. I make a commitment to myself that in 2014 and beyond, I will use good words and not be part of the hate and the behavior of uneducated people."
So for the year 2014, Jo pledged to use good words and publish articles used to empower, encourage, support and defend those who need to be shown love.
Jo has been offering us a good word for each week to focus our thoughts, behaviors and actions on...In the 18th week, Jo wrote her perspective on the word persistent... in Project Good Words Week 18.
My friend Maria wrote a beautiful response in her Project Good Words Musical Challenge, and then she lovingly passed the baton to me.
And so, I give you, the Road of Persistence.
The Journey Begins
I started out on the Road of Persistence when I was a stumbling, bumbling lad of ten. It was 1958, Elvis was King and baseball was America’s favorite pastime. Most nights I could be found on our front lawn playing catch with my dad. He loved the game of baseball and he passed that love down to his only son.
Like many boys, I dreamed of being a professional baseball player. I envisioned my future like this: make the local little league team, then make the high school team, then college, and then sign a contract and play pro ball for the next fifteen years. No problem! I was convinced it was a plan I could implement. It was just a matter of time.
The summer of my tenth year I began my journey toward stardom. I tried out for the little league team, the first step in my plan, and I was promptly dismissed as not good enough. I remember coming home the day I was told I had not made the team. I was heartbroken. My dreams for the future had died. What would I ever tell my dad? He would be ashamed of me, and I was honestly worried that he would always look at me with pity from that day forward.
He came home from work that day, and asked me about the tryouts. I told him I didn’t make the team, I had failed, I wasn’t good enough….and he told me to go get my glove and ball. He led me out to the yard and we began tossing the ball back and forth. After about five minutes he stopped, walked over to me, and smiled.
“Bill,” he said. “Nothing in life is free. If you want something then you have to pay for it, and in this case, you have to pay for it with hard work. Yes, you just got knocked down, but that just means you have to get up and work harder. When things are tough, remember to always get back up and move forward. Always forward, Bill, and I don’t ever want to hear about you giving up.”
The lesson for a lifetime had been given to me, and I embraced it with fervor. Each night I went outside and threw a ball against a cement wall, practicing my control and working on my mechanics. One hundred throws per night, five nights per week, through that summer, through the fall, through the winter, and into the next spring.
The following season I made the team, then went on to make the high school team, and then the college team.
Always forward! Never give up!
Tough Times Followed
The Road of Persistence has always seemed to have more than its share of potholes. Mine certainly did. The death of my father, my anchor in life, left me reeling. The death of a fiancé. My battles with alcoholism. Dreams came and dreams died as life continued to toss challenges and disappointments my way, but the words of my father would not go away. Never give up! Always move forward! If you want something then you have to pay for it, and that payment is often in blood, sweat, and tears.
There were many times I just wanted to quit. There were many times I just wanted to follow the path of least resistance and not struggle so damned hard, but my dad’s voice always spoke to me and would not allow me to toss in my chips and walk away from the game of life.
And Now I’m a Writer
And what in the holy hell was I thinking when I chose this career path? The number of writers who actually make it financially is incredibly small. Long hours, endless days, mixing and matching words, always looking for the perfect sentence, with no guarantees at all that success will be achieved. I’ve been at it three years now, and if fame and fortune are in my writing future, they have certainly remained well-hidden to date.
Still, I move forward. I sit down each day and for ten hours I practice my craft. I remember that ten year old tossing the ball at the cement wall, working on his control and mechanics, and I smile at the memory, and I know, with every fiber of my being, that nothing comes free and that I must move forward.
So Today I Say to All of You
In the words of Jason Mraz, as sung by Christina Grimmie, "I won't give up."
Bring on the damned potholes. I’m ready for them. I’m on the Road of Persistence and I will not be detoured. Yes, writing is a challenge, but it is my challenge and I’ll meet it head on. Yes, life can be a royal pain in the butt, but it’s my life and I embrace it, the good and the bad.
Bring on the damned potholes!
And that is my message to you all today: move forward…do not give up….be persistent in your efforts.
Don’t tell me you can’t do it because I know you can.
Don’t tell me that life is too hard because you are stronger than that.
Don’t tell me the struggle isn’t worth it because I know it is.
Move forward….always forward….
And God bless you all!
2014 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)