“The greater difficulty, the more glory in surmounting it. Skillful pilots gain their reputation from storms and tempests.” Epicurus (Greek philosopher, BC 341-270)
When people picture a struggle, they may see in their mind a crew of a ship, valiantly battling wind and wave to keep their vessel afloat. Others may have an image of a mountain climber, solitary and alone, fighting gravity, the elements, and his own physical limits to reach the summit of the mountain and plant his flag on top. Still others may be inspired by scenes of the Special Olympics, where athletes prove to the world how they can overcome by strength and determination. All of these things matter. Every one of these pictures gives us a little insight into the nature of struggle, overcoming, and fighting to win a prize.
I have never been on a rowboat in a storm, let alone a member of a crew fighting to save their ship in one. I have never been that interested in climbing a mountain. I also have almost zero athletic inclination or ability, so I doubt I’ll be inspiring anyone soon with images of me dashing across a finish line. We all have our own brand of struggle, however. Mine comes in the flavor of a large family that needs me to participate, referee, and basically be there. As I try to balance my time between my children and my husband, I am also trying to earn my bachelor’s degree online in the field of visual communications. There are a lot of hours and concentration and hard work required for this to be successful. Our family is also trying to begin a new life after relocating 2 states away fro where we began. We look for work, we try to raise our kids, I go to school, make dinner, etc., all while trying to help the kids re-establish themselves in a new place. Did I mention we are also staying with relatives right now?
“Great minds have purposes; little minds have wishes. Little minds are subdued by misfortunes; great minds rise above them.” Washington Irving (American Writer called the first American man of letters. Best known for the short stories The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle. 1783-1859)
It is important to remember that everyone has something that makes their life a struggle from time to time. Not all of us bear the same burdens either in nature or duration. There are things that I may find difficult that someone else would think easy. There are things that I have a fairly easy time of that would put someone else in a cold sweat. Fear is a very personal thing, after all. Maybe this is why we all go through such different trials in life. The purpose for all of it (or maybe some of the purpose) is to make us into the kind of people that are able to lead through adversity, stand firm for our convictions, do the right thing when it is unpopular, give up our own wishes for the good of others, and so on.
“Those who expect to reap the blessings of liberty must undergo the fatigues of supporting it” Thomas Paine (English born American Writer and political pamphleteer, whose ‘Common Sense’ and ‘Crisis’ papers were important influences on the American Revolution. 1737-1809)
There are many who would think my struggles right now are a walk in the park and I should puh-leese quit whining about it! This isn’t the most difficult thing I have ever attempted, of course. The chaos brought by child rearing is something people don’t really understand until they have stood in your chocolate milk soaked shoes with a screaming toddler, 3 moody middle-schoolers and a drama queen teen while you try to fix dinner, field phone calls, finish up your assignment that is due today, and keep the twinge in your temple from turning into a pounding headache. Bonus points if you can do it all without raising your voice. LOL
The point, of course, is NOT that my children are a constant chore, hassle and trial to me and I wish I’d never had them, no way! I struggle in life because of them, because they are worth the fight and aggravation and work. (I grew up as a lonely single child, a surprise to my much older parents whose families were raised and gone, so family means a lot to me.)
We all have dreams and they are worth a struggle. They are worth the fight of a steep uphill climb. Don’t give up on those dreams. Every day you persevere you’re getting stronger and closer to the person you will need to be to see those dreams through to the very end. Strong shoulders are needed to bear the weight of dreams. Consider this your time of training.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12 : 1-3