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I have a friend.
I know. Big surprise for everybody who knows me.
Anyway, this friend of mine is having a difficult time right now in his life. Or, to be more specific, in his marriage.
That’s nothing new or unique. Marriage is hard. I have a theory that most people, truth be told, have a difficult time living with themselves. I mean, honestly, how many times do you look at yourself in the mirror at the end of the day and say “nailed it!” I don’t think that happens all that often for most people. I think most people look at themselves in the mirror at the end of the day and say some variant of “I’ll do better tomorrow.”
So, if we each have such a hard time living with ourselves on a daily basis, how much harder is it to live with another person on a daily basis? To have all your hopes and expectations tied up with another person? Marriage is hard.
Anyway, so this friend is really at a place where he’s struggling. And, the last time I talked to him about this, I really only had one piece of advice for him: imagine everything you love . . . without your wife.
He has two kids who are accomplished and that he’s very proud of. Without his wife? Nope. He lives in a beautiful house with an incredible view. Without his wife? Nope. He has a ridiculously large collection of very cool toys. Without his wife?
Well, maybe. Maybe even more so. Perhaps we should ask his wife how she feels about the toys.
But, my point is this: all of the great things in life tend to be the result of struggles. Of battles won, or, at least, survived. And the point is this: what they have built, they have built *together* — the good, the great, the hard — all of it has come together. And, so, it’s important to be loyal to that struggle, because without the struggle, most of what is truly valuable doesn’t come to exist.
We’ve already started in on another really ugly election season — aren’t they all? This, at the end of a three-year span in which all of our politics became degraded and cheap. But, you know what? We just went through a significant realignment of power in this country . . . without violence, without death, without destruction. Sure, there was plenty of corruption and graft, but that’s to be expected in a human institution. We are still able to have a complete revolution every two years in this country without violence. The struggle is worth the blessings of freedom.
I know this is the week of Thanksgiving, in which we all contemplate all of the blessings in our lives. But, this week, in a bit of counter-programming, I would encourage you to embrace and, yes, be Thankful, for all of the hard. All of the struggle.
All of the difficult.
And, maybe, just maybe, it would be nice to spend some time thinking about those who are currently underwater in their struggle. Give them a hand up, since you know the way up.
Because, at the end of the day, it’s the struggle that makes the turkey more filling, the cranberry sauce sweeter, the stuffing more satisfying. And, if the potatoes end up a little dry, well, maybe that’s just a testament to how much you still have to look forward to.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
Michael Alcorn is a teacher and writer who lives in Arvada with his wife and three children. His new novel, “Charon’s Blade,” is available at Amazon.com, on Kindle, or through MichaelJAlcorn.com.” His opinions are not necessarily those of Colorado Community Media.
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