Do not quit.

In 2011, only five weeks before the end of what had been a difficult semester of grad school, I pined for finals week. Being in that place reminded me of what it feels like to aim for the finish line on a dragon boat.

Several springs ago, I spent a season on a dragon boat team and a day competing in the Tampa Bay Dragon Boat Races. It is an art to paddle in sync with 19 other people, which you must do in order to stay on course. It is exhilarating. And exhausting.

The easy part — once you’ve trained — is starting strong. The hard part is staying strong for the rest of the race. Your job is to throw your arm into the air and put the paddle back into the water, over and over, in unison with your teammates. You get splashed and you get blisters. Sometimes your whole body hurts.

In a race in the Garrison Channel, I swore I felt the finish line coming. I was hurting but I paddled, when the only thing everything in me wanted to do was stop.

And then I started to chant.

Do. Not. Quit.

At first, in my head.

Do. Not. Quit.

Then, I whispered it.

Do. Not. Quit.

Louder, one word for each time my paddle hit the water.

Do. Not. Quit.

Seconds later, the race ended — relief. The end of a workout that hurt but was worth it.

I thought of this last night while I worked out. Do. Not. Quit. Because I wanted to. Because frankly I don’t like to exert myself. Exertion is not within my comfort zone. It hurts.

But hear this: it is worth it. There is a finish line to tough times, like hard semesters, and busy seasons at work, or slow ones, and dry seasons in prayer.

I don’t know what your tough time is. I don’t know your rough patch. But if you have discerned that the work it requires is worth it, do. not. quit.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Nikki Janice

    Exertion is not within my comfort zone. It hurts.

    Yesss!!!!

  • Jan Weust

    Arleen,
    Your mantra, Do not quit relates to my struggles. My son is battling Hodgkins Lymphoma. He has gone though chemo, a clinical trial and stem cell transplantation and it has come back. I’ve prayed this novena to our blessed mother for his healing. I’m posting it as it may be beneficial for others who are struggling and trying not to “Quit”
    Jan

    PRAYER TO THE VIRGIN MARY (never known to fail)

    O most beautiful flower of Mount Carmel, Fruit of the vine, splendorous of heaven, Blessed Mother of the Son of God, Immaculate Virgin, assist me in this, my necessity. O Star of the Sea, help me and show me herein you are my Mother.

    O Holy Mary, Mother of the Son of God, Queen of heaven and earth, I humbly beseech you from the bottom of my heart to secure me in this, my necessity. There are none that can withstand your power.

    O show me here, you are my mother.

    O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee (say this 3 times)

    Holy Mary, I place this cause in your hands (say this 3 times)

    Thank you for your mercy towards me and mine.

    Amen.

    **This prayer must be said for three days, and after that, the request will be granted and the prayer must be published.