This week I offered the message at Easton High School’s Baccalaureate Service. The class had selected ‘Persistence’ as the theme for the service.
I talked about inner determination – the “I can do this” focus of energy. I also wanted the students to hear that persistence is more than learning to plow through challenges alone. My core message: “Whatever comes your way, you don’t need to figure things out alone.”
It’s a good reminder for us all. At each of life’s hurdles or decisions, the path virtually always becomes clearer when we pause and reach out beyond ourselves.
We can reach out to a family or friend, a co-worker, a past mentor, a minister, or a fellow congregant. We can reach deep toward our core values. We can lean into our sense of the holy or divine. All of these are potential sources for new ideas, for encouragement, and for fresh perspectives. We can’t do it all alone. We need not do it all alone.
I closed the service with this story from Rabbi David Wolfe:
“The boy and his father were walking along a road when they came across a large stone. The boy asks, “Do you think if I use all of my strength, I can move this rock?” His father answered, “If you use all of your strength, I am sure you can do it.” The boy began to push the rock. Exerting himself as much as he could, he pushed and pushed. The rock did not move. Discouraged, he said to his father, “You were wrong. I can’t do it.” His father put his arm around the boy’s shoulder and said, “No son. You didn’t use all your strength – you didn’t ask me to help.”
May we all ask for help when needed, and may we be open to the requests for help from one another, especially open to the requests from the young adults around us.