“Though much is taken, much abides; and though
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”
-Alfred Lord Tennyson

I’m not much into TV shows, but I am getting desperate here at home. Flicking through Amazon Prime choices, the audio starts in on Sylvie’s Love:

“Life is too short to do anything but what you absolutely love.”

Sure, Sylvie. I’ve heard that before. This is not the right time for that particular motto.

I’m still home. Still doing things I don’t *absolutely love. * You and all the touring inspirational speakers can go out to lunch and pump each other up about that one.

I’ve got a list of things I have done that I absolutely love. What I did to get those things, or to get them done, was a lot of stuff I didn’t even like.

What it took was a lot of tedious repetition. That’s what life is made of.

More importantly, that is what great things are made of. There is a famous scene with Rocky running up the steps in Philadelphia—the scene with the swelling music.

The fictional Rocky ran those steps every day. In a boring do-i-have-to kind of way. That’s how the greatness happens. I hope that in his mind, he had the swelling music, but I know there were plenty time when I have done something tedious and necessary that I did not want to do that there was no swelling hero music.

There was more of a caterwaul of self-pity and whining. And I would give in to it sometimes. But if I stacked up enough instances—enough repetitions—of doing it anyway I could get to the finish line.

I did the thing. It got done. It felt really good.

It still feels good. And there are the times when I feel so small and the world so big. Those times when I wonder what use I am to anybody and whether I am worth the oxygen I take up. Then I have a little pile of stuff I did that I’m proud of. I take one off the pile and wrap it around myself to remember I did something once, brought a bright thing of value into the world.

And that caterwaul is quieter. I find a scrap of will to do it again:

“Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”

More than anything, I am encouraged by the feeling of satisfaction when I do the small hard things along the way. Right now, with a nasty virus making the world week, I need whatever satisfaction I can get.

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