By Nena Ndioma

When you want to quit, don’t!

This beautiful phrase came to me one day, as I read the following admonition in an online magazine:

When you’re going uphill and you want to quit, don’t. Move slower if you have to, but keep going. You will get there.

The online article was about life lessons learned from running. At first, it caught my attention because I had been dabbling in jogging (and dreamt of actually running someday), but it retained my attention because I realised the life lessons learned from running (or jogging) mirrored the lessons I had personally learned going through divorce. My personal conclusion from the article was that plain old ‘continuing’ is a miracle in itself.

I looked up the word ‘continue,’ which means to ‘persist in an activity or process’ or to ‘recommence or resume after an interruption.’

Essentially, the pace doesn’t matter, as long as the persistence doesn’t wane. And even if it does wane, as long as there is life, there’s always a chance to start off from where you stopped. There is something to be said for just hanging in there.

I’m reminded of this truth each time I run into people I haven’t seen in a while, and observe their amazement at how fast and how big my children have grown. A friend/One of such persons remarked about this publicly at a get-together we both attended; then she pulled me to the side and whispered (almost conspiratorially): Well done!

Her hushed, near-conspiratorial tone made me laugh out loud, and I understood those two, simple words perfectly: Well done with managing to do this on your own, she meant. ‘They thought you would roll over and die, but you’ve ‘shown’ ‘them.’

I get this a lot.

What people don’t realise, though, is that I have no idea what I’m doing. Like any other parent (whether coupled or single), I have no explicit manual to help me figure out how to raise each of my very different children. This has far less to do with me than people realise. Over the years, I have just done what I could each day, keenly aware of my deficiencies and imperfections. And then one day, I woke up and I had a teenager as tall as me and an eight-year old who looks at least 11. How did they grow up this fast? Certainly not through any miracle that I’ve performed.

With my children, there has never been any question that I would make it to the end with them, no matter what – even when I can’t see the path that lies ahead of us clearly. When it comes to them, I have what I would describe as a supernatural resolve and determination. Whatever it is, we’ll work it out, and we’ll find a way. I will leave no stone unturned to find a solution. And God has truly been faithful.

I’ve wanted to quit many times when it comes to other things, though. Many times, I’ve wanted to take what seemed like an ‘easier’ route on the surface. But I look back and see that I’ve made it through these challenges, not necessarily by doing anything brave or dramatic, but simply by keeping at it – by just getting through my day. Seven days make a week. Do that 52 times, and the year is gone. To others, it may look like much more than that is involved – and sometimes, this is absolutely the case – but overall, it’s about sticking with it and refusing to give in to anything but what God Himself has for you.

Nena Ndioma is the pen name of the writer behind Remembering my Journey, a blog detailing thoughts on being African, Christian and Divorced.

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