Get ready to think and also to type.
First, a little background:
Around Christmastime this past year I went home to Mesa. I was still a pretty broken-hearted person. To be perfectly honest, it took me three months to start feeling fairly normal again—not the same, but more normal. While in Arizona I spent an hour or two with Greg in the home of Jenny, my Denton mom and also a very good friend. Something she said struck a chord with me, and I’ve thought about it often since then.
“Hard isn’t bad. It’s just hard.”
I believe this with all of my heart. Difficult things are not inherently terrible things. In fact, I would think it’s totally accurate to say that our greatest difficulties have the potential to encompass and engender our greatest blessings, our greatest triumphs, and even our greatest happinesses (and yes, I just made happiness a plural).
This is what Neal A. Maxwell said about challenges: “If, indeed, the things allotted to each of us have been divinely customized according to our ability and capacity, then for us to seek to wrench ourselves free of our schooling circumstances could be to tear ourselves away from carefully matched opportunities. To rant and to rail could be to go against divine wisdom, wisdom in which we may have once concurred before we came here. God knew beforehand each of our coefficients for coping and contributing and has so ordered our lives.”
I hope I’m not the only one who had to read this like seventeen times before I understood it. Thanks to the lovely Christine for sharing this quote with me, I love it.
I like what he says about concurring—agreeing with God. Can you picture yourself in the time before you came here, sitting down with a Father and saying “Yes, I will try to do that. Yes, if that’s what you need me to do, I will do it.” I’ve felt strongly before that this has happened to me, but I’ve never heard anybody else actually endorse this mindset.
Let’s be honest about all of this, though. Even though Hard isn’t Bad…it is Hard. All of us will probably wish that we didn’t have to go through our Hard things.
But we do have to go through them. So where does that leave us? I’m not exactly sure, but all of these musings on Hard have left me with some questions. Questions I’m really interested to see your answers to, even very tentative answers. One of the reasons I’m interested in people’s perspectives on this is because I’ve been doing a lot of writing lately about infertility and miscarriage, and I’m trying to clarify what some of my themes are.
Get your thinking cap on, people.
Here are some things I’ve been wondering:
• If hard isn’t bad, do you ever associate Hard with being inherently good?
• Just because hard isn’t bad, does that make it “better” than something that’s easy?
• If you have a situation where you can pick to do the easy thing or pick to do the hard thing, which do you pick? Why is that your inclination to pick that?
• What do you think God expects us to pick? Do you think He ever allows us to choose? Why or why not?
• Is it noble or at least note-worthy to pick to do the hard thing, or is it more noble or note-worthy to try to understand how the thing that you are doing is not as hard as you originally thought?
• Christ said “Take my yoke upon you…For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” I always thought this meant that if we strengthened our faith, even our most challenging trials could become easier, and even “easy” to bear. Does God give us hard things so that we can learn to handle those things like they are easy? Or are some things always going to be hard? What exactly is the definition of “easy” in this scripture?
• Can love be hard? Is it supposed to be hard? Is it supposed to be easy?
• Is hope hard? Is it supposed to be hard? Is it supposed to be easy?
• If our trials are “divinely customized” and “carefully matched” to us, do you think sometimes God gives us trials, on purpose, that are the hardest for us to bear? Or the easiest for us to bear?
The more I think about these things, the more I wonder if there are ever any solid answers. That being said, I do believe that our lives are going to be measured in large part by the deliberate choices we make when we are confronted with “Hard.”
So now, let me know your thoughts. I’ve never written this blog in order to generate a lot of comments. Sure, comments are nice. Some things people have related to me on this little blog have changed my perspective, or made me feel loved, or helped me to cope. And I really like that, and I appreciate it. But I’ve never been really super concerned with comments, if that makes sense.
Today, I’m asking for comments. I really want to hear what everyone thinks.
Seriously. I’m talking to you.
Thanks. Peace and Word.