If there is one thing that I have lacked so far in my life, it is perseverance. Very few times have I finished what I started, and now I am realizing that this is indeed the mother of all virtues, the one that is most uncertain, and the only one that counts at the end of the day.
Those who persevere are brave, wise, and strong beyond any cosmic force. They toil on through sleepless nights, dreary mornings, and snow-blocked paths to continue a routine that seems futile, un-nerving, and at times completely absurd. They live far away from their homes, they suffer the pain of loved ones from afar, and at times nearly lose their sanity trying to achieve a goal that seems so distant. Those who support them can seem so far away, unable to understand what they are going through. Yet they remain strong, they do not worry those they love with the details of their weariness and angst. And they toil on. And on. And on...
Until one bright day, when robes are unleashed in the calm air of summer, when the breeze sweeps by their weary cheek, and their loved ones look on, proud to be associated with an athlete crowned with the laurel of a particular glory, they finish the course. True, it may not be heroic, it may not even be something particularly romantic. But it is theirs. It is their victory over time, toil, and despair. And for that one moment, the pilgrim can bask in the presence of being a little bit closer to home. She can stand on the height, and even if there is yet another mountain to climb before her, still she can stay on top of that one, appreciative of the hopes and prayers of all who supported her, and with them ready to take on another height, another pilgrimage, fortified by the conquered struggles of yesterday.
To all who struggle or have struggled, to all who fight through the lonely night for something that seems fainter than the faintest echo ahead, thank you, and accept my deepest admiration.