I Can Do Hard things
I recently visited my son’s young family for a week. Their little boys are four and two years old, delightful little people. Their parents teach them, “We can do hard things.” Their concept is good; make the effort, stretch a little, do something harder than seems doable, then revel in the sense of accomplishment that inevitably follows.
However, little boys are clever things, and they find ways around their parents’ mantra. “Put your dish in the sink when you’re done eating/pick up the pillows/go brush your teeth.”
“No, that’s an easy thing, and I only can do hard things.”
Their mom shared a book of quotes she’d written on her mission years ago. One stood out to me: We Didn’t Choose The Picnic. I love picnics of all forms, which is unfortunate, because I live in western Washington where picnic season is very short. Alas, I digress.
I asked, “What does this mean?” and my cute daughter in law explained that it means the same thing; we choose to do hard things. While many others in the world seek nothing beyond entertainment—the latest movie, the biggest boat, the most exotic vacation spots—they choose to focus on building a strong family, and a secure financial future, a strong spiritual life for their children and posterity on down generations. They have fun, but it’s not their sole purpose on earth.
As a writer, I sometimes feel marooned by Hard Things, as well as easy things in time-stealing costumes. I’m currently working on a novel, which I planned to publish in November 2016. It’s now March. I have four other books in various stages of research. I just returned from a trip, still haven’t caught up from the previous trip, and I leave in three weeks for another jaunt. I realize that All Caught Up is a mythical place, but I’m seriously swamped here. Every January, I choose a word to focus on during the new year. This time, I chose Balance. I had in mind I’d learn to calmly do what needs doing, picking up joy along the way like Easter eggs in a field. Instead, I feel like a tightrope walker in a hurricane.
While at my son's home, I had time to lazily read three whole novels, something I haven't found time to do at home in months. I remembered how much I love to read, and how easy it felt to lie in the sunshine, soaking up words that I had not written, sentences I had not composed, plots I had not crafted.
Nevertheless, I can do hard things, and I go onward.