“Keep going, just like a…” he hollered, and I began to respond, even before he was finished speaking, having heard those words ‘ad nauseum’ my entire life, and as such, bellowed back on top of his words, “I can’t, it’s not working, I’m not a butterfly, and I told you already, I’m not good at this.”

“Doesn’t matter, just keep going, keep flapping your wings!” he said silently, though I heard him loud and clear, out of long habit.

I found this kind of encouragement from my father so frustrating when he was alive, believing him to be an optimistic fool, the kind of man who wouldn’t know a brick wall if he ran smack into it, someone who actually believed in impossible dreams, achieved them, against all odds, then transferred such dumb luck into an unrealistic faith in me, his only daughter–a girl so ordinary that even bees didn’t land on me, even if I wore bright yellow.

It was thirty years later, at the summit, as I took in the surreal view of pastel clouds and razor-sharp mountains, drinking in the thin, pure life-giving air, when I knew that he had been right all along, and that whether or not I beat the cancer viciously fighting against me, I would be victorious if I would only “keep going.”

A sudden flash then, an epiphany even, as the saying on his office door, the one everyone read as they came inside to seek his advice in near droves–everyone except me, that is, for I had ignored it and his advice completely until now–pierced my vision, as if it were written across the surreal scene before me: Success is perseverance in disguise.

Lillie McFerrin

This Five Sentence Fiction post is a response to Lillie McFerrin’s weekly one-word writing challenge. This week’s word: perseverance. Click on the badge above to visit her site, access the link to other entries, and even add your own creativity to the mix.

It is my great honor to dedicate this post to my sister, Ellie, who fought valiantly against cancer for 16 years, and who never stopped trying to encourage me daily to seek my wildest dreams and embrace my writing passion fully. I love you sis.

photo copyright Britton Minor and The Jaded Lens Photography. All rights reserved.

20 thoughts on “Ellie

  1. What an incredible piece of writing! While I was reading, it felt like part of a much longer work, and I couldn’t believe you managed to fit that much into five sentences! I love the imagery, and I love the tangible feeling of love and inspiration flowing through the piece. Incredible job!

    1. Claire, before Ellie died, she told me she would visit me as a dragonfly…

      Thank you for visiting, and for letting yourself be touched by my offering. May harmony be your companion today.

  2. I am forever mystified by the Monarch Butterfly . . . not to mention the endurance of the human spirit in any measure of adversity. Isn’t it a blessing when a sister is someone you think of as a friend? And is it serendipity that had you posting these beautiful words on National Girlfriends Day?

    1. Exactly my thoughts–that my sister was the dearest of friends–and still is. I filter practically everything through her eyes…and I loved the serendipitous date of the post as well!

  3. Gorgeous writing Britton, so heartfelt and it gave me shivers as I read it. Funny how we throw away advice, and can only really appreciate it once we allow ourselves to open up. Beautifully done.

  4. Britton- what you can do with five sentences! beautiful writing and it keeps getting better and better. Your sister Ellie must be smiling at you right now.
    Success is perseverance in disguise – I will keep this thought close. xx elizabeth

    1. I can’t remember where I heard that phrase—I’ll have to look it up and give credit where it is due! I appreciate you coming by and commenting–I know you are a busy girl!

    1. Andy!! What a pleasure to see you here.

      We may be in your area in early September. I’ll have to check your performance schedule to see if something comes together. Would be fun to see you in action again!

  5. Extraordinary writing, encapsulation and transfer of emotion. You do this very well. I know how much you love Ellie, and feel the pain of her departure. With sincere regrets for your loss and admiration for your ability and willingness to express so eloquently.

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