I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to struggle. Thinking about the struggles that have been overcome and the struggles yet to come. I struggle, you struggle, he, she, they struggle. Just because struggling is a part of life, or that it is life. That does not necessarily mean our struggles are a bad thing.
I would say that my life is a struggle. I would not say this is something that makes me downcast. Frustrated, of course but never to the point of bringing pity on myself. What I struggle with comes in little forms, tiny things mostly, tiny things that build into bigger things if I pay attention to them. Day-to-day aggravations that your average able-bodied person fails to notice because they don’t need to notice them. Thinking about the terrain of a parking lot, or carrying multiple things from the car to the house. I notice the tiny things because the tiny things make my life easier or harder. Fun fact about Jena Rogers; my left hand is mostly for show. Don’t underestimate him though, Lefty knows how to operate, he’s just not all that cooperative. My left hand is like my right hand on Valium. He lags a bit but still, I’m grateful to have him. He keeps my right one company. She’ll take the lead and he’ll follow-my left hand copies my right exactly (which is not always the goal of what I’m doing but that’s a topic for a separate article.) However, when it’s lefty’s turn to lead things can get complicated. This was the situation I ran into the other morning while putting my hair up. The hair tie goes on my left wrist so my right hand can take charge, things got switched this particular morning and I did not realize that I had to start with my opposite hand until I was ready to fasten my up do. Trying to get your non-dominant hand to do what your dominant hand does is like doing it in slow motion. I simply failed, dropping the hair tie onto my lap. Suppose I could’ve worked a little harder in OT, years of digging pennies out of putty….where are you now?! So yes, I faced a set back, I had to start over, hit by the struggle bus once again.
Here’s the thing though, I didn’t really fail when I dropped that hair tie onto my Africa inspired leggings because, what is failing? Failing comes after quitting. I wasn’t going to quit, I had somewhere to go and I wanted to look good, quitting wouldn’t help with that. I believe my life is a struggle and I also believe in strategy. Those who know me will often hear me say something like; “I’m strategizing” when I’m getting into a tall truck or carrying something bulky. I can do it, I always can sometimes it just takes a different strategy. As was the case the morning I dropped my hair tie. The game was not over, I was in the final inning, and I wanted to bring it home. So despite how inpatient as I am with delay and being hyped up on coffee in the a.m. I let my long locks fall down as they were before and redid the whole process from the start, letting my she-hand take the lead as usual. Those moments of taking a breath, knowing I can do it, and then coming at it with a different approach allowed me to reach my goal of tying my hair up and being out the door.
Don’t enable somebody out of tough situations thinking you’ll keep them from harm. “Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls, the most massive characters are seared with scars.” Each of us has to break through and not just once but over and over. Each time we do, each breakthrough, there’s a little bit more muscle on us than before. Don’t help the baby chicks fighting to break out, don’t assist a disabled individual out of the assumption that you should because you can. They can too-I can too-but maybe not just like you. Always ask first, if the asking comes from a place of pity do not speak a single word. It is so much better to walk off and not look back if pity is the motivation for helping others. Don’t offer an airlift to someone climbing Everest. It’s all about the climb. Going through it is exactly how what needs to be learned is concretely taught.
Although with struggling comes strength-be there to help. Don’t force it just simply be kind because everyone is fighting a hard battle. Perhaps we could alleviate the pain of struggle if we would do as scripture says and shoulder each other’s burdens. In the beginning of this article I listed a variety of those who struggle, but I did not specifically say; “we struggle” as in together. This is true and perhaps this is the best version of struggling there is out there because when you and me, when we struggle-we’re not struggling alone.