2013: Trust in the difficult
"And now we welcome the New Year, full of things that have never been."
"We must always trust in the difficult...perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage." -- Rainer Maria Rilke
Did you, Dear Reader, make a New Year's resolution? Common resolutions include cooking more meals at home, exercising more, spending less money, focusing on family more and so on. Yet, I want to offer you a twist: What if you resolved to trust in the difficult? Sounds crazy, huh? Still, I think this is a thought worth pursuing.
Every year brings with it events that have never before occurred. Actually, when you think about it, so does each day. Some years, like some days, are uneventful. However, other years, and heavens knows some days, are filled with numerous dragons, mountains or torrential storms that must be faced -- often head-on and with little to no preparation. What if, rather than flinching, whimpering and dragging ourselves through each problem, we counted them as a blessing? In fact, what if we resolved this year to see difficulties as an opportunity for us become more "beautiful and courageous," at least internally.
Think of "trusting in the difficult" as a tool for achieving all your other resolutions. Let's face it, whatever you chose as a New Year's resolution, you did not choose it because it was easy. After all, if your resolution wasn't challenging to some degree, you'd already be doing it on a regular basis -- right? Therefore, just flip your thought process somewhat and embrace your resolution, much as you would a loved one whom you have not seen for a considerable time. Seriously, why not? Why not expect positive to come out of the difficult?
Lower cholesterol, healthier weight, improved blood pressure, and so forth are positive results of the daunting task of cooking more meals at home and exercising. Less debt, balanced checking account and an increased savings account could be your reward for spending less. More laughter, improved relationships, and even internal peace may be the result of spending more time at home. See what I mean? Yes, your resolutions, whatever they are, may present you with moments of great difficulty. Yet, it is through the fire that beautiful works of glass are formed; and, it is through similar heat that your life can be refined.
I'm not sure at what point as a society we collectively decided that life should be easy. As the popular and commercial saying goes, "Life is good;" yet, that does not necessarily mean life isn't difficult. Reflecting through history should demonstrate that humans have yet to achieve the perfect world, free of struggles. In fact, I dare say that without obstacles, we would not have the appreciation for those times of relative ease.
Just recently, I overheard my daughter telling her dad, "I don't know which I like better, rainy days or sunny days." Then, she launched into a lengthy description of the advantages of both. Once she finished her soliloquy, I interjected. "Perhaps, it is because you have both types of days that you are able to see the benefit of each."
Naturally, as a 13-year-old who possesses way more knowledge than her mother, my idea was quickly dismissed. Still, I submit that because she is able to embrace the difficulties of each type of day, she is also further able to see the positive of each as well.
Therefore, rather than wear your chosen New Year's resolution like a cross slung over your back, why not plant it in the fertile soil of your mind's eye. After all, if you are bent over from the weight of a perceived burden, how can you look up to find the light? Once planted in your mind's eye as something positive, a goal with which to aim your soul, you can begin to change your perception. After all, if you "freed a camel from the burden of its hump; you may be freeing it from being a camel." (G.K. Chesterton).
If your life were without difficulties, would you really be living?
Life is good when we overcome our own dragons and realize the potential beauty and courage that exist within all of us. I encourage you to stick to whatever New Year's resolution you have established for your own life. In addition, if you have been reluctant to choose a resolution, dare to dive into the waters of self-improvement. You may be surprised to discover that you swim better through life trusting yourself to the sea of "difficulty."
May we all "welcome a new year, full of things that have never been," but are possible when we "trust in the difficult."
Stephanie Hill is a freelance writer and an eighth-grade reading and writing teacher at South Point Middle School. She is also a lifelong resident of Lawrence County. She can be reached at email@example.com.