A person of endurance.
As persons with a lifelong mission we need to have endurance. We have to be patient. We have to be ready to put up with so much.
This is because we are on the road for the long haul. We travel on a road that leads to the accomplishment of our mission at the end of our life. We look at today and tomorrow, and also at the many days, months and years that our father God gifts us with.
Moreover, we have to stay on the right road. This is not easy because there are many other inviting possibilities that beckon and that can take us off the road. Allurements abound, and many of these can take us off track.
Having to say "no" to these other inviting possibilities, and having to decline the tempting allurements frame up our life and work as one of sacrifice. They are marked by sufferings, which we need to endure with patience.
We do need to face up to this basic fact about our life and work: suffering lurks at every corner; there is in fact no escape from it. This is due to:
* The limitation of our human condition. On this side of eternity, our lot is to suffer, in part because of the way we are made up. We aim for the stars; ideals beckon, and we have the natural inner drive to go for them. Yet, our feet are made of clay. We are subject to many limitations; our abilities fall far short of our desires to move towards our ideals.
* The relationships we strike up with people who themselves are limited. We are blessed by the company of people with whom we live and work. We are able to accomplish so much in team work with them. Solidarity is a definite boon. However, no matter how good are the people around us, the stark reality is that they are limited just as we are. They have their imperfections. They have their weaknesses. All these lead to misunderstanding, frustration, and disappointment. All these turn our life and work into a bed of roses, with rose petals that bring fragrance, on stalks with thorns that prick and hurt.
* The environment in which we live and work. We look at the physical environment, and we are awed by how much destruction, havoc and death it can bring. We look at the human and social environment, and we see the "forces of evil" having sway. We feel the effects of so much "sin" that has accumulated over time, leaving us with "structures" that make life so difficult and work so challenging. These structures get to be oppressive, working as they often do against the ideals of goodness, truth, and justice that we seek to bask in and enjoy.
Our experience with life and work tells us that "life is beautiful"; it is an opportunity to do so much good and bring light as well as joy to the life of other people and of the human community of which we are a part.
But that same experience also tells us that suffering is the salt of life. It gives savor to our life and work. But even as it does so, it inflicts so much pain and imposes so many difficulties that we need to endure, with patience and longsuffering.
We need to have a positive attitude to suffering, inevitable as it truly is on this side of eternity. It helps us to pray. It tests us and helps us acquire genuine virtue.