As the Lenten season approaches I spent some time this morning thinking of what I will give up for Lent. But I’m so sick of quitting. Maybe this year, I’ll just quit quitting.
For inspiration I turned to my favorite author. I’m a great admirer of Arthur Caliandro and have his book “You Can Make Your Life Count.” I pulled it from underneath my bed where it’s always waiting to offer tips on how to live each day a bit more fully than the one before.
I opened it right up to a page with the following story. Arthur was camping in the Grand Tetons. Early one morning he awoke before everyone else. The only other creatures up at that hour were the birds and a chipmunk looking for crumbs. And there near his foot was a solitary little black ant. He wrote:
“He walked in front of my foot, his legs moving in a quick easy rhythm. I had really never watched an ant before but recalled that the Bible mentions the ant several times. Ants are supposed to be wise, resourceful and socially very highly organized.
I thought it would be interesting to test this insect’s wisdom and resourcefulness. First I made a little hill in the sand. It must have seemed like a mountain to the ant. He walked along without breaking stride and went right up the hill and down the other side. Then I dug a little hole to make a valley across his path. He went down the valley and, again without stopping, marched up the other side. Next, I took a stone and put it in front of him. He tried to climb the stone, struggled a bit, fell back, reconsidered the situation and walked around it.
This little ant was passing some tough tests. I decided to try one more obstacle. I put a twig in front of him. He struggled with the twig until he also found a way over it. During all those trials, what did the ant do? He kept moving. At no time did he stop and consider himself to be in bad circumstances. He did not complain…or go tell another ant how bad things were. Nor did he go to the government of the ant colony and ask it to solve his problem.
That little ant knew what his test was. He saw every obstacle only as another challenge, and he continued to walk through his obstacle until he arrived at his goal.
Caliandro concluded,”This little creature gave me an impressive lesson in persistence and patience. He knew how to do only one thing – keep going.”
Dr. Arthur Caliandro is Senior Minister of the historic Marble Collegiate Church in New York City, one of America’s oldest congregations, dating back to the early Dutch settlers. Born in Portland, Maine, Arthur is the son of a Methodist minister and one of three brothers who all joined the ministry. A graduate of Union Theological Seminary, he began his ministry in rural churches in Ohio and New York, but in 1967 heeded the call from Marble Collegiate Church, where he succeeded Dr. Norman Vincent Peace. Dr. Caliandro’s weekly sermons are broadcast on radio and television and are read by thousands of subscribers throughout the country. He is the author of Make Your Life Count, a reflection on his own personal search to find meaning in life. He frequently speaks to business and religious groups and his articles have appeared in Plus magazine, published by the Norman Vincent Peale Center.)