embracing the value of struggle in growth


Henderson, North Carolina


Wow! So yesterday’s post on Trump and Clinton prompted an unprecedented volume of response. Readers seem to be genuinely motivated to think seriously about how we can engage the challenge to be more positive in the throes of such an uncivil election (see, Please consider this about Trump/Clinton).

So Friday morning, unaware of the coming tidal wave of interest, I hit “post” and immediately turned off my computer. I then met some friends from church and headed out to Henderson to play golf on the rolling hills of the beautiful country club. It wasn’t till I arrived home around 3:00 that I realized the political post was well on its way to 2,000 views.

Good People – Bad Challenging Golf:

IMG_4147I recommend golf as the perfect cleanse-the-mind intervention when life gets too jumbled – “Crazy-making” politics included. The beautiful scenery, the concentration on a little white ball, the creative challenge of hitting out of some new impossible circumstance, the unavoidable humility, the occasional success, the company of good people.

I played badly, including dumping two balls in succession into the same pond (I was so, so close…). But I absolutely loved every moment, and I managed to finish strong.

I think I enjoy golf so much exactly because it is so very difficult. I’ve said the following in several contexts recently, and in more than one way, but the heart and soul of this phrase is consistent: “Everything wonderful in my life, every episode of meaningful growth, every incremental step forward, has always come at some cost, and as a result of struggle.”

“Everything wonderful in my life, every episode of meaningful growth, every incremental step forward, has always come at some cost, and as a result of struggle.”

IMG_4157Life is difficult; that’s the opening sentence in Scott Peck’s classic book, The Road Less Traveled. But difficult is not a bad thing: struggle always has the potential to facilitate gain, and challenge prompts good in so many ways. Life is a great adventure, and we always have this choice to either embrace the possibilities or to plop back down in our easy chair and congratulate ourselves on avoiding the potential difficulty.

Now I’ve strayed well away from golf. I don’t mean to intimate that waving a six-iron at a small ball is an example of journeying the road less traveled. But I do appreciate the metaphor. I’m really talking about the difference between playing computer games on a couch and hiking the Appalachian Trail; or doing Disney versus backpacking Italy; or taking another cruise when you could be climbing Mt Sinai at dawn (illustration – nothing wrong with Disney… or computer games… or cruises!).

We have to be prepared to move out of our comfort zones, to embrace the edge of the familiar, and to live like we mean it.





Categories: life, The Life That Truly is Life

Tags: , , , , ,

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