Never Give Up 

Never Give Up 

Never give up. Three little words that have the power to bring change and inspiration to each one of us. Words that will always encourage us to keep going despite the weight of our own burdens, or the encumberment of others’ unpredictable behavior. But are they still considered old-age thinking among those deprived of good old common sense? Maybe to some degree, but if we refuse to give up, we will never lose hope, never give in to failure, but will always have the faith necessary to cope with the sometimes unbearable, bewildering, and trying times that lie ahead.  Given enough time, even victory over our internal adversities will come if we just have the patience and fortitude to pursue goals that often seem impossible. Most things that we strive for that seem far beyond our reach will become a distant memory if we choose to never relinquish our grip. 

As a child, my dear mother lived a life of alcoholism, sexual abuse, and unforgiving condemnation from her grandmother and other dysfunctional people around her. When I found out about the carnage that took place in her young life, I was extremely angry and because those who did her wrong were deceased, I turned that anger into a deeper love for her than I could have ever imagined. It was at that point that I began to feel her mental pain and suffering and vowed never to give up on her. Of course, there were days beyond that point that I would often ask myself, “Was I fighting against too many odds? Was the enemy too deep and ferocious? Might I be fighting a battle I could never win? Should I lower my standards and ambitions and find my place in a world filled with doubt, suspicion, and uncontrollable secularism? Could she brave the storm alone? Then I realized it wasn’t my battle, and it wasn’t hers, it was ours. She was my mother, and despite her inability to show me the depth of her love, and that she had the strength to overcome such adversity, it didn’t really matter because I loved her unconditionally, as God loves each and and every one of his children, and no matter what lay ahead I would never desert her. I have always believed that this life on earth is a glorious opportunity to mitigate any unnecessary strife in someone else’s life. Especially when it comes to a man’s devotion to his mother. 

Despite our differences, there were four things that my mother absolutely cherished, and over the years they became objects of love, devotion, and remembrance for me as well: purple African violets, red rose bushes, purple lilacs, and white butterflies. I went to the hospital knowing that she had little time to live and brought her a purple African violet plant that I sat down close to her bed. She lay lifeless with only a breathing tube to keep her alive, while pneumonia was deliberately putting an end to her life. I held her hand and poured my heart out to her knowing that the words that I spoke and the tears I shed couldn’t lessen the grip that death had over her. Her hand then slipped away from mine and I thought she was gone. Then, something happened that I was totally unprepared for. For one brief moment, she reached out and took my hand, softly squeezed it, as if to say goodbye. I watched as she gave her last breath which ended her pain and suffering on earth. I kissed her face one last time and called out to the nurses. They let me stay alone with her for as long as I needed to, and as I was leaving the room, I sat the violet on a window sill that was saturated in the brilliance of an afternoon sun.  

On my way to my car, I sat on a bench to ease my blistering pain, while I was overtaken by the undeniable fragrance of lilacs. As I turned to see where it was coming from, my eyes were drawn to a group of red rose bushes. Not seeing or knowing what was going on at all, I sat for a while longer, and after I was exhausted from crying, I stood and watched a white butterfly take flight in and out of the garden that God had set out before me. It was only one of the defining moments I’ve had since my mother passed on. Every time I smell the fragrance of lilacs or see the everlasting beauty of African violets and red rose bushes, I feel my mother’s presence upon me. But it’s the shivering random motion of butterfly wings that sometimes obscure my vision with a fluttering blanket of white that tells me that my mother is nearby. 

The disappointments and potholes that await all of us now were not put there to make us quit, but to deepen our understanding of what life is all about; to push us beyond the boundaries of our capabilities to never give up. Failure is not a roadblock that forces us to surrender, but a reason for us to persist and come back even stronger. The daily challenges we face will give us the strength and courage to never quit because we will always find comfort and rest at the feet of angels. Blessed are those who have felt the presence of angels and the rain of forgiveness that cleanses our misgivings and the hallowed ground that we walk on. Giving up will never allow us to participate in a world of humanity that exists within the grandeur of God’s love and compassion for his children. 

Dear friends, I will never give up on you, or the pursuit of my dream of bringing peace, love, and connection to every American. For you see, we are still the backbone of the truth, strength, and freedom that still rings across the land of the greatest nation the world has ever witnessed, our home, the United States of America. Although at times the future appears grim, I know that deep within our hearts and the hearts of our Founding Fathers, lies the true heartbeat of our nation: its people. We must teach our children never to give in to the unrighteous road ahead that seems to be paved unfavorably with disconnection, mistrust, doubt, and uncertainty, and that only together, can we set them onto a clear path to truth, relatedness, and oneness with God. We need to teach them that unending strength of mind, body, and soul, can defeat even the most determined and immoral adversary. Mighty is the sword of goodness and freedom. 

Besides, what could be more strenuous for a young child than to drag an affable but exhausted lion down a long dirt road home to safety?  

Blessings dear friends,

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  • Naomi

    Oh my! What an expression of devotion and love. The odds are never too great, the enemy can always be beaten, we can win the battles, never lower our standards and always believe that our trials and tribulations make us a better person. Giving up should never be an option! My oldest daughter survived cancer and a brutal relationship but she suffers from anxiety. She always asks why? Why does God allow these things? Why?Why? I believe God tests our patience and our reliability on Him. I had the pleasure of knowing “Mom Ellen” and it’s one friendship I will always cherish. We had many conversations on Howard Street in Dolgeville in her apartment and on the porch. We baked cookies and had heartfelt “girl talks” I saw her as a BFF and as a woman who fought demons every day. What I do know is she loved her sons with all her heart. I remember her fair skin, her silver gray hair and her always having time for my visits. I can attest to the fact that a mother’s love is unwavering. How lucky I am to have received as much as I’ve given. Thank you Drake for letting us in for a glimpse of your heartache and turning it into a love that only a mother can understand.

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