They are bound to come eventually, and they come in all shapes and sizes. When you are young you are naive enough to think that you can duck around them, avoid them somehow, that nothing bad will ever befall you. Eventually we realize of course that we can't. Life is made up of hard things. Hard choices, hard circumstances. Sometimes, life is just hard.
So I got to thinking...... why don't we just embrace it? Them.... those hard things. Because you know, it is when we are going through those difficulties that we learn SO much. Is it always fun? No. But it usually ends up being worth it in the end. Sometimes those hard things are actually good for us. And often they end up being blessings in disguise. We grow, we change, we learn.
And I am speaking from experience here. I know most of us could. I have lost loved ones to sickness, I have gone through health trials with my children, I have had financial difficulties, we now have children with special needs and deal with issues on that end....... You name it.
So I got to thinking today, we only have this ONE life. It is a gift. And sometimes it is the most amazing, miraculous, fun gift..... and other times not so much. But what would life be without those challenges? How would we ever test our mettle? How would we ever grow, become stronger, more convicted?? We are put here on this earth to make a difference. We have to be strong to do that. We need to have experienced life. The good and the bad. Many times, things we do in life would never get done without a previous experience propelling us forward.
If I had not lost my mother as a teen would I still have the same empathy for others who have lost a parent??
If Atticus had not developed Leukemia would I still know what I know about childhood cancers and be able to support other parents as well?
If I did not have children that struggle with learning disabilities would I still be an advocate?
If we had always been rich would I appreciate the things I have that we have worked so hard to obtain?
Some of these difficulties I would have never chosen-- I would much rather have my mother living and Atticus healthy. Of course. But so much that happens in life we have no control over. All we can control is how we handle it, our attitude, and how we go on... what we do with that experience.
I know there are days for me when having a large family is just HARD. The squabbles, the noise. And expanding our family through adoption has not always been a walk in the park. There are seemingly insurmountable hurdles to overcome. But I would not change it for the world.
There are days when having children with special needs is just no fun either. I have heard parents say many times that they are overwhelmed at their decision to adopt kids with special needs because it turns out that now, life is just much more difficult and different than they would have ever imagined. The way they envision their future is different too. And you know, I get that. Sometimes you just seem so engrossed in what is going on now that it is hard to see the light. But the light is there. What you are doing is HARD but it is important. That hard stuff usually is! It is what life truly is made of...... not the shopping trips and dinners out with friends. That is fun, but is it meaningful? Does it give you a feeling of accomplishment at the end of the day.
Sure it is all about balance too, we've got to have the fun and the lighthearted sometimes in life right? It keeps us sane. But I guess what I'm asking is is that all that we want? The fun and the easy? The stuff of life that lacks true substance?
And there was nothing in particular to me today that made me start thinking about all of this, just pondering life in general I guess, contemplating all our own challenges and difficulties, as well as our blessings. It just got me to thinking, life without the hard is boring. We accomplish so much more when we tackle those hard things head on. We make such a difference in the world when we step out and challenge ourselves to do something difficult!! Think of running a marathon...... or birthing a baby without medication........ or adopting that child that is going to just rock your world! Hard. But so worth it. And such an amazing feeling in the end, that you did something extraordinary.
No one ever got that feeling by just coasting through life. Nope.
It is like my friend who is contemplating a move to Ghana with her husband and young children. She wants to make a difference, and she feels that God wants her to also. Would it be easy to leave all that you know, your conveniences and your security of your home, job, etc to traverse across the globe to a country where you can't just run to the nearest Target whenever you desire? Nope. Not easy. Hard. And worth it.
So there are my thoughts for the day. As much to myself, if not more, as to you.
Step out, embrace the hard. Or better yet, when the hard stuff of life finds you, move through it with grace and acceptance. Now that doesn't mean roll over and let it get the best of you. Oh no. Rather step up to the challenge and show it what you are made of! Grow, change, learn. That's life after all, and it is darn good.