Character Trait: Perseverance

Published 6:23 am Wednesday, April 28, 2010

My dad has said “Life is like a box of chocolates” for as long as I can remember. For a long time, I did not quite understand what he meant, but I am beginning to. Life is the box. It is a one time deal. It is a singular event made up of all the pieces. This paper is about my box, but the story is about the many pieces inside.

The interesting thing about a box of chocolates is that everyone has a different idea about which pieces are good or bad. Some people jump right in. They grab a piece, close their eyes, bite down and wait for the surprise. Some people are more precautious. They stick their finger in the middle of each piece to see what is inside before they indulge. Others avoid certain pieces. They leave them in the box to grow stale and eventually throw them away. Some people eat their favorites first, some save the best for last, some eat one piece a day and some eat them all at once. No matter how you choose to experience your box of chocolates, all the pieces are there just the same. They make the box complete.

I am more of the cautious chocolate eater. I am still deciding about a couple of pieces, but I will not leave them in my box to grow stale. Some pieces I have had to eat. They were unavoidable. Several were surprisingly succulent, some were messy but delicious, some bittersweet, and some plain disgusting. However, my favorite is pure, solid, milk chocolate.

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My melt in your mouth, close your eyes and savor the moment, unforgettable piece of chocolate happened when I was in sixth grade. I hit three homeruns in three at bats in an all star baseball game. It was more than I hoped for and a taste I will never forget. It was just there, in my mouth and pleasing my taste buds, before I knew what was happening. Those chocolates are few and far between. When they happen, you never forget them.

There also is the bittersweet chocolate. It, too, just happened to be an unavoidable part of my box. The bittersweet can be confusing. Something about it makes you want to spit it out but there is something that causes you to hang on until the end. Something is there to keep you looking for that underlying taste of sweetness that tempts your taste buds. For me, this bittersweet chocolate was my dad’s third kidney transplant.

I was in fifth grade when my dad lost his second transplant and tried a new procedure for a third one. For three months my brother and I had to live between my grandparents’ house and UAB Hospital in Birmingham. My dad experienced severe rejection and life threatening side effects.

My dad was transferred to Atlanta. My brother and I lived in the hospital with my parents for three weeks. He lost the kidney – the bitter. He survived – the sweet. Now he is on home hemo dialysis and doing very well. That is the sweet I was waiting on, trusting it would come but unsure when and how.

My favorite chocolate is the ever reliable, never changing, solid milk chocolate. In my life that is my Christian faith. The one thing I know I can depend on, the one thing I know is solid, is my relationship with God. It is rich, satisfying, and always there. I have never opened a box of chocolates where there was not at least one piece of solid milk chocolate. It is the one thing I never want to be missing in my life. This is the taste I will never forget, the one I will take with me wherever I go. It is the one piece that will get me through the chocolates I find disgusting, will keep me thankful for the pieces that are mouth wateringly rich, and will keep me strong during the bittersweet moments.