When we left for school, the world was covered in slush and glazed with ice. It was beautiful. Then the arguing started.
Caroline wanted me to drop her off in the parking lot and let her walk to the school entrance alone. I told her she could walk alone from the drop-off lane but not all the way from the parking lot. She whined about me not treating her like a “big kid,” and I warned her that it was basically my job to watch her walk in.
It’s not that I don’t trust her to make it to the door – I don’t trust the crazy drivers who race across school parking lots and practically toss their kids from moving cars.
Anyway, as we pulled into the parking spot she said, “Okay, you can walk me to the door.”
Stepping carefully across ice-cold puddles, we talked about the wet slush underfoot.
“Would you like a delicious slushie?” I asked.
“What flavor?” she played along.
“Salt and road dirt.”
She half-hugged me and headed for the entrance.
When I got back to the car, my socks were soaked with slush. That’s when I noticed the handful of kids riding bikes to school, their dark coats splattered with salt slushies. I thought, God bless those winter bike riders. They have grit.
“Showing up is half the battle,” an old professor of mine with a strict attendance policy used to say. It’s what I tell myself when I’ve made some commitment that I now regret. I’ve had jobs in the past where I’d rather be in a car accident-induced coma or abducted by drug lords than show up another dreadful day. But I must confess there’s value in showing up.
I realize kids have their reasons for showing up to school, like being forced by parents, having a warm breakfast on a Styrofoam tray, being with their friends, or even wanting to learn. I don’t know the reasoning of those winter bike riders – I just know they made a real effort to show up, and I admired them.
For me, February is the month when winter seems never-ending. It’s the month when my energy is lowest. Do you feel the same? I write this simply to encourage you (and me) to keep showing up.
Winter will surely end and longer spring days will grant us a new dose of vitality. Until then, we have the chance to build up grit. And so, for others, for yourself, for your commitments (even the ones you wish you’d never made), keep showing up.
“So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit.” –The Message by Eugene H. Peterson, Galatians 6:9