In my vocabulary, certain words trigger a series of defining moment images. One word with a wide range of moments, personal and shared, is determination. The earliest imagine was a childhood one. We were on a day trip climb in south India. The group was a mix of adults of all ages and kids from six to sixteen. I was so confident. I could see the route. I knew how far we had to go. The most important thing to focus on was pace and endurance. Technically, it was not difficult.
As the guide let us head out after sharing his best advice and words of warning, I recall being committed determined. The echo in my mind then vividly remains within the image. “I’m staying on your trail; I’m putting one foot In front of the other. I’m not giving up.” (Psalm 17.5)
The imagine winds to an end with me, a young teenager, sitting on the side of the trail watching the group disappear up the mountain and then, hours later, reappear. My determination was not enough on the day. My effort and confidence combined in a way that left me short of my goal. I never saw the top of the mountain.
In contrast, other images reflect balance, commitment and a relentless determination to take one step after another. As I shared a meal with a friend who has been part of many of the images, I realize that I am stronger and better when I am collaborating with others. Determination increases with community. In this discovery I find myself catching a glimpse of David’s determine being infused with another, in this case Divinity.
The chaos of the recent past is a reminder of the struggle. At times, we can see the finish. On other occasions, the clouds block the summit view. It is not always easier to work with the Other. There are times when it will feel as if we have failed. If, when, remember, you are in this with at least one other. Determining to trust is a place to start.