Monday 15 April

11Indeed we call blessed those who showed endurance. You have heard of the endurance of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.

It has such an unpleasant tone. It sounds so grinding and harsh. But there are times when, the reality is, that “endurance” is the best I can hope for.

Just getting up in the morning may be as much victory as I can manage in one day. And so, I endure. I show up for my life; I fulfill my responsibilities and I plod on. It does not sound like a wildly victorious and triumphant kind of life; but sometimes it is just the best I can do.

Strangely, it is, along this path of “endurance” James says, that lies the privilege of being called “blessed.” There is some mysterious alchemy in the practice of “endurance” that helps me to discover that “the Lord is compassionate and merciful.”

I am not sure how this works. I wish it were otherwise. But there is a certain liberty in this call to “endurance.” I am not expected to leap tall buildings at a single bound. I do not need to present myself perfectly coiffed with a radiant smile every day. I simply need to endure. I need to wade through this difficult time, getting on with getting on.

The miracle is that, if I keep moving, I always come out the other side. I do not stay in the swamp for ever. There is always light in the darkness. I am alive. My heart is still breathing. As, Michael Gerson says, “We are Lazarus.”

I may die many times through the day. But death is never the end. There is always something on the other side. Each little death is an opening to the next moment. As I move forward, the momentum of life grows and slowly I move beyond the need for “endurance” to keep me breathing. The breath of life starts to come again more spontaneously. I find that compassion and mercy are present at the heart of life. The power of life has been carrying me all this time and again I can see the wonder and truth of Presence at the heart of my being.