“Never give up, never give in, never, never, never, never – in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense.” These words are attributed to Winston Churchill from a speech he gave at his alma mater, Harrow School, on October 29, 1941.
I admire Winston Churchill. He had a real bulldog presence about him. He even looked a little like a bulldog. That “never give up” business is hard though. I don’t enjoy hard. I like easy and even lazy on occasion.
That may be why the bulldogs came to us. My tendency to say, “Aw, so what?” when things got hard every once in a while cost me. It cost others.
I had a chance to give up on a small matter today, one that may have made no difference at all to anyone anywhere, now or ever. As is common in my current life, the chance to give up involved a bulldog.
Wiggles is the sweetest of our bulldogs, but she has a mind of her own when it comes to obedience. (Don’t we all?) She was out of her crate and it was necessary that she go into her crate because I was leaving and, since she is a trash diver and wire chewer and consumer of anything that comes near her mouth, it is never safe for her to be left to her own devices.
No amount of coaxing or commanding would move her into the crate. I pushed, patted, picked up her feet to put them over the threshold, and finally toyed with the idea of giving up and letting her stay out. But no, that would not do. She is a dog. I am in charge and no matter how many lazy, underdeveloped muscles of mine had to be exercised or strained, that bulldog was going into that crate. Never give up; never give in.
I am sure I looked stupid, picking up the dog’s feet, one at a time and placing them into the crate, only to have her withdraw the last one I put in so I had to start over again. By that time, bribery with a treat was out of the question. I’m not that big of a sucker. (Well, sometimes I have been, but I’m working on it.) The whole time, there was the nagging temptation – “Go ahead, quit trying, who cares? What’s the big deal if she’s out for an hour or so?”
The big deal was she was supposed to go in the crate. The big deal was I am in charge over a pack of bulldogs. The big deal was my way was the right way, the safer way.
Among the world’s great battles being fought today, private and public, this tiny trivial fight of mine with a bulldog and with my tendency to quit was nothing. Still, I had to talk myself through it. All of a sudden, the fight was over. Wiggles cast one more sidelong glance in my direction and walked into the crate.
Did I experience elation? A sense of victory? Excitement? No, just a quiet pride that I had done my duty in this smallest of tasks. I did not give up. I did not give in.
Now I have to finish my income tax return. Never give up. Never give in.
“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap if we faint not.” Galatians 6:9 KJV
Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.