The Struggle is the Point
BY SARAH BRYAN
This past week was a good one. Dan had a week off, and we got to go to the mountain, celebrate Thanksgiving, go on a couple of dates, and relax at home. And, as lovely as all of this was, I also felt a lot of heartache. I saw multiple posts on social media about people and animals who had passed, and it GOT to me. Dan had gone to work out the morning of Thanksgiving while I got ready, and when he came back, I was a blubbering mess over a story I had read about a dog being taken from her own backyard by a coyote. Sadness completely took over when I thought about what that poor dog went through in her last moments, and now what this family was going through at a time of year that is supposed to be spent with those you love. Now they had to spend it with a gaping hole in their home and their hearts and I just… felt it. ALL of it.
I apologized to Dan for being a mess because I knew that wasn’t what he had been expecting to come back home to, but he just hugged me and told me to let it out. Better to feel it than bury it, and you can’t experience the highs if you’re afraid to go through the lows. So I bawled my freaking eyes out for this dog and this family and all of the living beings that were suffering in some capacity and for the fact that I couldn’t control it all. I couldn’t stop every terrible thing from happening, and once they’d happen, I couldn’t change it. But then I remembered, life is not for us to control. And, even if you could, would you really want to? Has any good ever come from everything being just perfect? Pain hurts, but it also can create beauty in the midst of it- if we let it.
This family, in the midst of their own pain, decided to start a fundraiser for the rescue they’d adopted their pup from, in her honor. They ended up raising over $80k (if you wish to donate too, you can do so here), and expressed how much comfort they felt from the fact that their fur babe did not die in vain- in dying, she has helped countless other dogs get rescued, healthy, and adopted out to loving homes. Thanks to her, so many other pups will know love and a life like she did, as they deserve.
This same week, I came across a quote that said, “The struggle is the point.” In life, we so badly want everything to be perfect and to have no worries in the world, but that doesn’t make for a very meaningful life. Do you think that if you had never faced adversity, that you would be the same person you are today? I know I wouldn’t be. The struggle humbles us and enlightens us to become better- to look outside ourselves and want to DO better for others. And, without the challenge of an uphill climb, we may never be inspired to do any of that. It simply wouldn’t mean as much. Meaning doesn’t come from the attainment of the goal, and it’s the tireless journey that came before it.
I’ve been thinking a lot about this and how I tend to fear feeling pain. My mind takes me to some pretty morbid ideas sometimes- about losing a loved one, or something else terrible happening- and I often have trouble shaking the fear that comes with it. After losing my Dad, I like to think I’ve come a long way in finding peace with this fact of life, but I really don’t want to challenge it. Yet, I know at some point, this will inevitably happen. So how do we prepare for the worst? My best answer.. we don’t. Preparing makes absolutely no difference. I used to think if I could see the bad thing coming, it would hurt less because it wouldn’t take me by surprise. But all that does is create hurt that lasts longer, for what will potentially be a situation that never happens at all.
What we can do, however, is finding acceptance. There really is no “bad” and “good,” only our idea of what falls into those categories. Losing a loved one hurts, but is it bad to hurt? Feeling pain is just as necessary as feeling anything else. I also read this week that “grief is the price of love.” I LOVE that. Because it makes the hurt feel less scary. Pain is not something to run away from. If we never felt pain, we had never opened ourselves up to loving anything. And that’s no way to live. Losing those we love hurts, and that’s okay. If we accept that our pain is necessary, as the byproduct of something beautiful, we allow ourselves to process the loss and create meaning in its wake.
I’m not saying that losing a loved one is ever “good”, or that it can be turned into something beautiful- because I think, in most situations, it’s not and it can’t- what I’m saying is that the pain you feel, from something like that happening, is nothing to be afraid of. Realizing that struggle is part of life and that you’ll grow from feeling those emotions and that you loved something THAT much to be feeling this way right now… that IS a good thing and CAN be turned into something beautiful. The only way to not experience this kind of deep sadness is to close yourself off from anything and everything that could possibly matter to you. Never take risks, never be vulnerable, never love. What kind of life is that?
So when you find yourself in the midst of struggle, I hope you remember that THAT IS the point. Take that risk, put yourself out there, look like a fool… LOVE. The struggle is the point and it is so, SO worth it.
What are you thoughts on this? Would love to hear your feedback and experiences!