By John Jones
When I write that legends endure, I am not commenting on their ability to leave a deep, immovable footprint on culture. I do think to be remembered throughout generations and across multiple cultures as an enduring memory of the human spirit is a characteristic of being legendary, but when I write the word ENDURE here, I mean more that would-be legends, when faced with great difficulties while they live, have to struggle well and battle hard against overwhelming odds. Legends are hit hard with seemingly insurmountable things and they have to press in with all they have to simply survive them, much less overcome them.
This endurance, which might also be synonymous with the word/meaning of perseverance, can often be the most crucial piece of what the word legend means.
There are some people who achieve greatness according to the masses, but they may never really face extremely difficult things and thus would not qualify as legendary to me. Just because someone has huge talent and the ability to crush every opponent would not get them into my Hall of Legends – they need to have a resume which includes trials so fierce and storms so much bigger than them. And if they have those sorts of trials and are able to push through those most severe of times, using whatever means necessary, they are truly legendary.
To endure great struggle is a sign of a true champion – it proves they will not give up or give in no matter what. Even as the earth gives way underneath them, they carry on. Or maybe they just survive it. I know some legends in the making who are enduring physical sicknesses, mental illnesses, and crippling losses/tragedies and all they can do is hold on for dear life. They are not weak because they can only just make it through. These legends in the making are not soft because they have been forced to admit that what they are facing in this life is bigger than them. Just because they curl up in a ball and cry out with unceasing tears for help – for a hand – for a miracle – does not disqualify them. In fact, it makes them stand out to me.
No matter how bad they want to stop the fight – to throw in the towel – to stop breathing – they “embrace the suck” and do whatever they can to grind out the days, the minutes and the milliseconds.
Some supposed legends never face this sort of struggle – they are always applauded and the storms never seem to hit them – They never have to endure such pain and suffering. And while I am so happy for them that their lives are without the severe times, it keeps them from having the necessary quality of endurance I require.
To those legends in the making who are undergoing such trials, I cheer you on because your ability to even hang on for one more day means you are special. And to my little Lubbock SEO friend and to my friend at Dream Taxi and to my friend who is doing MCAT prep to become someone who helps others (you all know who you are), I know you are not probably ever going to be legends. But I want to thank you for being examples of endurance and perseverance. You are legendary to me. Your struggle is legendary even if your memories don’t long endure to the people of this earth…
Keep holding on hard to God and putting days behind you – May you soon rise above these trials and become more than you ever thought possible.