Sometimes, as one friend has described, we’re simply “riding the donkey”. Decades ago, this was how one got from one place to the next and in many places, it still is.
It could be tedious. It can be tiresome, taxing of heart and testing of patience — even of confidence and faith, when the going is especially slow. Eventually, inevitably we all face such biding and abiding (ask any pregnant mother). Ideally, we make peace with it, yield to receiving what it brings – what our own ideas and designs often chafe against.
A heroine of mine, Marion Jack, learned a lot about this. When I need inspiration for staying the course, going the distance, perhaps when I most want to quit, I remember what her life demonstrates about accepting this price of some of life’s most valuable outcomes, even though our urge may be to flee, dodge, or fight.
Marion stayed the course, consciously, willingly in very trying times, and places. One was Nazi-occupied, and filled with treachery. She could have left – she had opportunity. She chose to stay for others’ sake, and for commitments she’d made.
“As I have the capacity of suffering much, so I also enjoy much,” she once observed. She also noted with real pleasure, “It seems wonderful, what one can do without.”
Other words of hers hit close to home: “Each one has his own little work to fill in the great scheme of things. Mine seems to be to work quietly in new fields or in assisting the real [workers]. So I always think it wisest to try and do one’s own work and not think of attempting the line of other people.”
She was well-experienced with riding life’s donkey. I imagine her as thankful for the steps it covered on her behalf, however much the movement may have sometimes seemed backward. Or, at best, like treading in place.
She didn’t forget that, whatever circumstances felt like around her, she was being carried. And no matter what she could see, things were advancing. Often, the biggest of those was love, just as the real means of their advance was love, too.
She knew from experience that the pace that took, even when it resembled a donkey’s, was always exactly right.