Keep writing the damn alphabet.

Like most people, I like to be excellent at things immediately, without much effort, and get even better from there. (“I’m already AWESOME! Wheee! Look at meee! Now I am even MORE AWESOME!”)

It’s fun to do things that you are “already pretty great” at.

It requires much more humbleness, grit and courage to do things that are not instantly easy.

A little while ago I started physical therapy on my leg so that — hopefully, soon — I can start walking again.

Throughout my life I’ve been a semi-professional dancer, as well as a yogi, rock climber, and weight lifter.

At physical therapy? None of that mattered. There was no leaping. No climbing. Zero frolicking. Not yet, anyway.

My primary job was to try to “write the alphabet” with my toes.

Such a simple task, yet I could barely do it.

It was not instantly easy.

I was not instantly good at it.

In fact, it was really painful and hard.

After my first PT session, I went home and cried. It sounds so unbelievably privileged and disgusting, but I am not used to things being that painful and hard.

I couldn’t understand why things weren’t getting easier right away, like they usually do.

Absurd, I know. But that was the runaway thought-train in my mind.

Here is what happened next:

I kept writing the damn alphabet.

It was boring and painful and the progress seemed practically non-existent. Some days I couldn’t tell if it was “working” at all. Most days, my “Z” looked like my foot was having a spasm. Not going to be winning any foot-calligraphy contests anytime soon.

But I kept writing.

Ten days later, give or take, a miracle happened.

I walked.

Well, sort of. I took a few half-steps using one of my crutches instead of two — kind of like a super-sized cane, supporting most of my body weight. Tiny, hobbling, baby steps. But I walked. I WAS WALKING. For the first time since breaking my leg.

My physical therapist congratulated me and said that the stabilizing muscles in my foot and leg were already much stronger.

My boyfriend hugged me and his arms wrapped all the way around me. Only one metal stick inside the hug instead of two. That’s fifty percent less crutch. Progress. I cried again.

Do I even need to spell out the “moral to the story”? I don’t. You’ve got it.

Here it is, anyway:

Some miracles do not come easily or quickly. Some goals, as my friend Nicole puts it, require “thousands of tiny, unsexy steps.”

It’s tempting to give up after one or two frustrating sessions. Tempting to say, “Well, obviously, that’s just not for me. I quit.”

Don’t quit.

Keep writing the damn alphabet.

Keep taking those aggravatingly slow, tedious steps.

Commit: one day, one week, one month, one year longer than seems reasonable.

If the goal you’re working towards is “worth it” to you, and you know it, keep marching.

The miracle you’ve been waiting for… could be right after the letter “Z.”