Why does nobody ever put a period after that phrase?
We can do this the easy way. Period.
I heard it again on a radio interview the other day: Well, anything worth doing is hard. It’s the hard work that makes it worth while. Nothing good ever came from taking the easy road.
Here is a brief list of activities that I find most worthy and fueling in the world:
* Holding a baby
* Making conversation with a child
* Laughing with friends
* Singing showtunes with my mom and brother
* Singing camp songs while my brother plays guitar
Not one of these things is “hard.” Not one requires advanced degrees, mountains scaled, or scars incurred.
Each of these things are, for me, Easy. Joyful. Miraculous.
This value our culture has attached to struggle and adversity and toil is sickening and disheartening.
Now, I know what they’re getting at. I know that I wrote just yesterday that showing up is hard and scary, so I don’t know that I have a soap-box to stand on here. But, I am tired of being harangued by the idea that I have to struggle in this life to do anything worthwhile.
That anything that comes easily, naturally, feels good, joyful or pleasurable must have a toll paid in flesh.
Sure, caring for children all of the time is taxing; and I’m not a parent, just an eager attendant and friend to others’ kids, which demands its own responsibility. Making the time to show up with and for friends, and to maintain friendships does take effort. Dancing means making myself vulnerable to being seen, which requires taking a deep breath before diving in.
But it doesn’t follow that these things are struggles, adversities, or stories of redemption.
God, how we love a redemption story. We hate people who “have it easy.” We want to hear how muddy the water was you had to slog through toward your goal. We want you to express fear and isolation and doubt and a “dark night of the soul” before you are worthy of a story of triumph, joy and ease.
What kind of fucking schadenfreude society are we?
I “get” that we all want to feel a kind of connection with those who have struggled, because often we too find ourselves in struggle and we don’t want to feel alone. It feels disconnected to hear a story of ease, success, and Life’s mercy. Because we don’t have or believe we can have that ourselves. And so we want you in the mud with us.
Sometimes we do slog through mud. I get that, too. But not everything in life that’s worth doing requires that. Sometimes we cross the bridge, our toes are not calloused, there is no troll to pay off, and we simply arrive at our destination.
I know that doesn’t make great drama. But I’m not looking for drama. I’m looking for joy.