Fourth Week in July

Handling hardships is one of the persistent challenges in life. There are occasions when frustrations accumulate and you feel, really, that you would rather give in or break down. You regress to a child who stomps his foot in defiance of reality or who throws her head back in despair. No matter our age we feel the impulse to be overwhelmed by mounting frustrations and simply let them take us over.

Fortitude is our ability to deal with persistent challenge and frustration; to say, “this is not what I wanted or hoped, but I can deal with it.” There is no virtue in needlessly enduring frustrations, creating them, or welcoming them, but because few things ever work out exactly as we hope, we know that frustrations will naturally occur. Fortitude is the virtue that allows us to experience challenges and move past them. Practicing fortitude makes it clear that even while hardships persist in life there is strength, optimism, and vitality that permeates it.