I’m not sure exactly what to call this post on this three-rejection day. I was going to write a little thing about the New York Public Library Lions but then the rejections started rolling in and I started thinking about losing, and how I always remind the kids that in pretty much any game worth playing you are going to lose at least as often as you win.
For example, if we are all going to play the Littlest Pet Shop Game and there are three of us playing together, each of us is only going to win every third game, all things being equal. The other two someone else will win. The rest of us will essentially lose, even if we’re splitting hairs over the second “winner” and the third “winner.” Really there is only one winner and everyone else should be a good sport and try again. Of course the real problem is that all things are not going to be equal so someone may end up winning less than their one-in-three and throwing their littlest doggie pet across the room and crying that she can’t play this game at all.
That’s when things get difficult. That’s when you have to explain that sometimes life is just unfair. Sometimes you get robbed. But then again, sometimes you’re going to win even though you played the lesser game. Because that’s chance thrown in. And, sorry, but there’s nothing anyone can do about that.
But back to the lions. Former New York City Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia renamed the lions flanking the entrance to the New York Public Library Patience (on the south end of the steps) and Fortitude (on the north) in the 1930’s during the Depression. His intent was to remind people of the qualities necessary to carry themselves through tough times. So these two lions at the gates came to embody the notion that even in times of difficulty, a coupling of calm determination and strength was the key to ultimate success. A lion in repose. Solid, strong, waiting, watching. A symbol of greatness held at bay, but perhaps only for a moment.
It’s a hopeful thought. Much can be accomplished with patience and fortitude. The odds are great that in writing and in life failure, rejections, mistakes, and lost opportunities will persist, but there is something inspiring in the idea that if we just keep at it, the hard won victories will be much more worthwhile than a game thrown in our favor so we won’t get our feelings hurt. Because let’s be honest, even the grown ups really want to win all the time, don’t we?
In any case, today is just a day. As I record the losses I’ll think about Patience and Fortitude. I am a Leo, after all. (Or, if the game is Littlest Pet Shop, a cat.)