I have often wondered about perseverance… I mean real perseverance. The kind that nothing can stop. I would like to think that I have endurance, and this courage to never give up, but has that really been tested? No. Honestly, I have no idea what perseverance really is or what it looks like when truly lived out. The depth of human instinct and survival simply amazes me when I hear of stories like Aron Ralston who survived because he had great perseverance. I cannot fathom the struggle he underwent. Canyoneering in Utah, Aron fell in a canyon and was trapped by a 800 pound boulder, with only a liter of water and limited food. Pinned for five days with a completely numb hand and a knowing that he would die inevitably, Aron did what I think I could never do.
With a two inch dull knife, he slowly sawed his arm off, severing through layers of skin, muscle, tendons, ligaments…and that’s not the worst part. He first had to break his arm so that he could cut through it. Once he had cut through everything else, he realized he still had a live nerve to cut through. Sending shock waves and painful pulses through his body, he continued to cut. It was probably the worst pain he has or will experience ever. That was the price of freedom. Of his survival. He made it out alive, repelled down a cliff, was found by a family camping and was helicoptered out. In spite of this ordeal, he recovered and is back to all kinds of adventures, not letting his, now amputated, arm hold him back from truly living.
What does it feel like to survive something like that and fully engage in life, with no regrets? Though the odds of going through even a similar experience at Aron, the opportunities of persevering under trial will not cease. I will have times where I can choose to survive at all costs, never giving up. Or I can quit and take my fate. Aron Ralston’s story greatly inspires me. On so many levels, I see what this guy did, both good and bad, mirrored into my life. I really do hope, that in any event of need for perseverance and survival, I can not only succeed but triumph, not letting the situation defeat me, even emotionally/mentally. Ultimately, anything in life comes down to one thing:
Will I do whatever it takes, regardless of cost, to really live…to not only survive but to conquer the situations I face with dignity, humility, and perseverance?