Being a stay at home mother to three children while my husband works full time and goes to school full time is the hardest thing I have ever done. This is not the same thing as saying that it is an extraordinarily difficult task. Other people are parenting more children in more difficult circumstances. Other people are battling chronic illness in themselves or their children. My life is not any more or less difficult than someone else’s. This is the most difficult thing I have done in my life because I have too often committed the sin of avoiding difficult things.
Last night, after K-group, I was speaking to a good friend of ours. This friend is finishing his third (and final) year of seminary this year, and he looks exhausted. I asked him if he would counsel someone contemplating seminary to do it in three or four years. He looked at me and shrugged and said something very profound, “Seminary would be hard if you had to do it in seven years. Seminary is just hard. That’s what I’d tell them.”
Let me put the conversation in context for you:
All week the snickerdoodle has been . . . something. Maybe she’s been cutting teeth, maybe she’s had a sore ear, we don’t know; what she hasn’t been doing is sleeping. Sunday night at K-group I was so tired that when I closed my eyes for the grace before the meal I actually nodded off. I was exhausted and feeling like this whole endeavor was hard. Believing that hard meant bad, I was struggling with the idea that because this was hard, I was doing it wrong. Every time someone asked me how I was, I lied through my teeth, said “Well,” and smiled brightly.
When David said that seminary is hard, he did so without apologies. He didn’t say, “So no one should do it.” He kindly, and completely unknowingly, gave me a well deserved kick in the pants. You see, far too often in my life I have used the fact that something was hard as the reason to not do it anymore. Hard has been synonymous with wrong, or bad, or even dangerous and because of that attitude, when, in my late 30s, I face a difficult situation from which I cannot (and have no inclination to) flee it is the hardest thing I have ever done.
So I’m telling you that right now my life is harder than it has ever been, but that does not mean I am in the wrong place, or doing the wrong thing, or even disliking my life stage and experience. Hard does not mean wrong. It just means hard. Thanks to David, I’m okay with that now.