Recently, I’ve been helping my second son with his GCSE revision. I am reminded of my own efforts at his age. He is as brainy as our other two children – but far more organised than I ever was. He is a naturally focussed learner. He will do well. He will do very well.
For talent is not enough. As well as talent, we need to want to take advantage of the gifts which our belief systems bestow on us. And belief – or faith if you prefer – is important: a faith in our ability to do something which has never been achieved before can lead us to achieve it again and again. The four-minute mile remained a barrier to all and sundry, until one day Roger Bannister broke it – and it was then broken for ever, broken for everyone.
Funny how breaking something sometimes means we make it better.
I am reminded now of my dear Teta Tugica. I first wrote about her a little over two years ago. She was not expected to live for very long. And yet, she has. At the time of writing this post, she is still alive. She is still fighting to remain a part of this world – even as her profound Catholic faith leads her to believe fervently in the next. I cannot be in Zagreb now, cannot be by her side. I must support my son now – in this hard-won unlocking of all that wonderful talent which his beautiful being ensnares.
But, today, in a way, I have been transported there – if only for a moment and only through words.
My sister flew over to Croatia at the weekend. She has been able to bear witness to the inspirational nature of those who do not care to give up. The reality, if you like, of those who choose – on a daily basis – to be survivors. As she concludes in her piece:
I don’t know what will happen in the next few days or even tomorrow, but yesterday [Tuga] said to me, “I will survive. I have decided.” Then she paused and said, “At least tonight, anyway.” I went in this morning, early, to kiss her goodbye and I left saying I would see her soon, because I have a very strange sense of knowing that I will. I don’t have any answers, but I feel as if I know something very precious that I didn’t know before, so all I can say for sure is that everything’s always okay in the end; and if it’s not okay, then it’s not the end.
This is her post. Please read it and bear witness also. For just as my son shows me hard work pays off in the end, the good of the best amongst us will always shine through.
Grace under pressure.
Hemingway was right.