I’ve learned that one of the most unifying bonds in the human experience is the struggle. As I sit to write this, I roll the word around in my brain until it’s unrecognizable. Struggle. Sounds like muggle. (for the non-Harry Potter versed: a muggle is a non-witch/wizard.) Struggle…a swarm of muggles? Could be…but, as usual, I digress.
The discovery that what we wrestle with is defined by the ancient proverb, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” (Although, not to be confused with a frenemy…that’s a whole other Oprah show.)
So, we gather. We unite. We support and reassure one another that whatever it is we struggle with, we don’t have to do it alone. Unless you struggle with getting a skunk out from under your house, and then you are SO on your own. There are countless groups whose sole mission are to simply “be there” in a reassuring way for people who are in the middle of a struggle. But sometimes the struggle is embarrassing, or even dismissed.
I have an underweight friend who has, on several occasions, had episodes of becoming lightheaded because her blood sugar was too low. Jokingly, I’ve told her to eat a cheeseburger…but I missed something deeper. She didn’t WANT to be underweight, and often, she was the subject of scorn from other (insecure) women who struggled with wanting to lose weight. (Come on, ladies, you know you called her “b*tch” in the back of your mind)
She’s even been accused of having an eating disorder…but I’ve seen her eat, and the only disorder that occurs is when you get between her and the nacho plate. It’s a good thing she can be distracted with a margarita, though.
So, what then, is my struggle? As weird as it sounds, I struggle with struggling. Again, I roll the word around in my brain until its meaning is lost…(sounds like a swarm of muggles juggling…ack…again, digression)
I simply detest struggling. Which is not to say that I avoid it, but rather I am resentful. I resent things that challenge me to become better, because it is a GLARING reminder of how cursedly human I really am; and frustratingly, I am also what my friend Lisa calls, a “repeat learner.”
My I.Q. is irrelevant, it’s all about growth. Here in my late 40s, I find myself resenting the need for growth. I am, after all, an adult, and have been for longer than my entire time as a child. It’s unimaginable that there is anything that I haven’t read, heard, or watched on Oprah or Dr. Phil that cannot be applied to my life. Thus, I have no need to learn and grow, right?
Wrong. It is precisely that thought process which brings a dump truck of emotional/spiritual/moral challenges to my doorstep, forcing me into another round of maturation. Honestly, if my physical growth kept in step with the rest of it, I’d likely be eleventy-seven feet tall by now.
The hardest thing to admit is, during these challenges, I find it burdensome to remain kind. So my struggle becomes two-fold: 1) Acceptance of the crapstorm when I’m in the middle of it, and 2) Working harder to keep kind in spite of it. This is my present journey. A journey upon which I will insistently wear my yoga pants, (my tushy should at least be comfortable) and work towards stretching and expanding my emotional/spiritual/moral self. I just hope I don’t get a cramp from it.
On a final note…
It is a wonderful thing when someone is kind. It is something that has been overlooked and belittled in much of the mainstream world. Being kind is easy with people you know and love. It’s also easy with people who look and act the same way you do. The challenge to being kind, is when someone is so different you find your visceral reaction overpowering. We readily mock things and people that we don’t understand. I do it plenty, and God Bless Justin Bieber for the write-it-yourself material. But because our world has been brought into a tighter focus via the Internet and Social Media, and bloggers everywhere, doesn’t mean we don’t have a responsibility to at least try to do better. Which is exactly what I’d like to do.
This post is dedicated to a friend’s daughter, Missy B.
Missy, THANK YOU, for learning about, and in turn teaching so many others the lessons of: kindness, grace, and redemption.