Persevering through barriers

By: Father Haynes Hubbard

OUR DAUGHTER, Gabriella, is eight years old and started at the local Portuguese school five weeks ago.

A conversation recently moved me considerably. I asked: “How was your morning?”. She replied: “Good” and I said: “I’m glad”. She continued: “Well, not great, just OK, barely. They are never great. I just don’t understand enough of the language for them to be great”.

She doesn’t complain, at least not to me. She seems remarkably stoic about it. Going off, day after day, to a situation in which she understands almost nothing of what is happening. Particularly having come from a small school in Canada, where she was consistently one of the brighter students in the class (being her mother’s daughter, of course).

It would be much easier, and perhaps more satisfying, to rail against the situation by storming off and returning home in a huff. But in this case (she is not always so accepting), she calmly accepts the reality in which she finds herself, and seems to know that in time it will change and improve. The light, and her fluency, will suddenly come and she will begin to have great days, instead of mere bearable ones.

There is a prayer, by Bishop Lancelot Andrews, one of the Anglican Divines in the 16th Century, in which he speaks of the virtue of simply being in the moment, and persevering (I have that prayer, but it is in a book, in a box, in Canada, and I cannot find it here!).

The virtue of which he speaks is that of staying in the struggle. Not giving in when it is mundane, drab or dull. Outright conflict is one thing: dreariness is another. And perhaps the latter is harder to stick with.

Surely there is something of that in our day to day Christian lives? A sense of not really progressing: merely enduring. Of wondering if it is as all worth the effort and the banality of it all?

James seems to think so. “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him”. 1:12.

One day Gabriella’s school day will indeed be great again. Until then, she, like so many of us, perseveres: for the promise of being able to speak Portuguese is an even more fulfilling reward.

Gabriella lives with Caspian and Fr. Haynes, and their mom and brother, in Praia da Luz. Father Haynes is the Senior Chaplain for St. Vincent’s Anglican Chaplaincy with congregations in Luz, Almancil and Sta. Barbara de Nexe. His email address is [email protected]