And so I found that the inhabitants of the far reaches were generally there by choice. Their decision to bear up under the varied conditions was propelled by a love which seemed evident always, as if never denoting a choice was made at all. This doggedness magnified a greater zeal, their zeal prompted purpose, and their purpose splayed a magnified joy and dignity in the simplest of tasks. I remember feeling crazily alive when I first carved out a path to my wooden shack in a six-foot snow drift, where I lived on a blustery hilltop with a few other committed folks -- the immense task of living finally seemed to take on meaning, and the tenacity required in my days burgeoned into conclusions I am only realizing now.
I speak here in simplicity for the profundity of past days leaves me always a promise of recollection, and diminishes as I step back to view it. I recognize today, as in all others that I have "need of endurance so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what was promised." Heb. 10:36. On this humdrum day of rain, disappointment, and failure -- I have need of endurance; to press in to receive forgiveness, and to grab a hold of the grace I need to move forward. I think of the journey of Christian in Pilgrim's Progress as he makes his way to Celestial City. All along his path he is met with obstacles; he flees the City of Destruction only to slide into the Slough of Despond, helping him out is Worldly Wiseman, Mr. Legality and his son Civility; he meets many others along the way as he encounters Giant Despair, Vanity Fair, and Doubting Castle. I am encouraged just to think that so many others have both encountered and termed these skulking foes that plague my walk. I am strengthened as was Christian by Faithful, and ask you also to pick up your pallet this day and walk.