Discouragement is universal. Who can't relate to feeling like your work is all for nothing? Who doesn't get tired of trudging along the same path day after day with no sign of a breakthrough, no glimmer of hope that things might turn around. I've been reading some very good examples of people who had every reason to quit but instead kept pressing on. And I am finding encouragement in their determination.
One of those people is John Roebling. He was a creative engineer who lived in the 1800's. Roebling had a passionate vision to build a bridge that would connect New York City with Brooklyn. But others didn't share his passion. Experts throughout the world told him it was impossible to build such a bridge and they advised him to scrap the idea. But Roebling refused to give in to his skeptics.
One person who did support his idea was his son, Washington, also a talented engineer. Together this father/son team came up with a plan, hired a crew and began to build their dream bridge. The project was off to a great start when just a few months into it, a tragic accident ended John Roebling's life. Three years later, his son was injured so severely that he couldn't walk, talk or move.
The nay sayers had a field day with the Roeblings as they voiced their "I told you so" opinions using words like crazy, foolish, and wild dream chasers. But the youngest dream chaser wasn't down yet, not completely. Despite his severe handicaps, Washington's mind was still sharp and he still had a passion for completing the bridge.
As Washinton lay in his hospital bed, an idea hit him. The only part of his body that he could move was one finger, so he decided to make use of it. During his wife's visits, he developed a code of communication by tapping her arm. One day he tapped a message to his wife telling her to call the engineers. Once again, the bridge project was underway with the instructions for completing it being tapped out onto his wife's arm.
Washinton's wife must have been a patient, devoted woman. For eleven years she sat beside her husband as he used his one moveable finger to tap out instructions for the engineers. Today the spectacular Brooklyn Bridge stands as an awesome example of what can be accomplished when someone stays determined and refuses to be defeated by his or her circumstances.
The thing about quitting is that once you quit, you will never know how close you were to a breakthrough. It could have been right around the next corner. So the next time you feel like giving up, remember the Roeblings, remember that bridge that would not have been, and keep pressing on until that day when your own dream stands before your eyes in all its glory for all to see...a tribute to your refusal to quit when everything worked against you.