Does it seem to you, as it does to me, that every human in the world has at least one thing in common: We, all of us, struggle. No matter who we are, struggle seems to be a fact of life.
Some of us have great obstacles to overcome and some of us have more massive ambitions than others do, but, every one of us does have some sort of difficulty making it from where we are now to where we really want to be.
Sometimes we’re struggling with other people walking through our worlds. Their ideas or life views might not mesh with our own and there will be bumping and grappling involved when we try to get to a meeting of the minds.
Sometimes we struggle with circumstances beyond our control. Wise guys say the only things we can change are the things we can control…and, sometimes, what we can control may not be a whole heck of a lot. It helps when there are others there for you.
Often we struggle with our own limitations, and the best way for us to affect that one is by working our way past those limitations, growing and learning and doing what we can to expand our own horizons.
Sometimes we just tangle ourselves up all by our own selves. That one could be the hardest one of all because, f’r real, we are our own best enemy. (We know all our own secrets, after all, and have absolutely no compunctions about using them against ourselves.)
STRUGGLE MAKES THE STORY
Struggle seems to be a built-in component of every purposeful, well-lived life. The struggles seem to be even worse for those who are neither purposeful nor living their lives particularly well.
(Maybe, except for a very few highly evolved mystically oriented folks and the guys who are looking very hard for a heck of a lot of easy, we humans tend to expect to meet with some sort of struggle or other as we go through our days.)
There’s no story if there’s no struggle, after all. Tales about leapfrogging from triumph to triumph and floating along through joy after joy after joy with no push-back, no missteps, no disappointments, and no junk parts just don’t seem real, somehow.
More importantly, the tales just don’t feel heroic. Heroes are not heroes if they don’t face some sort of struggle.
We expect to struggle towards our highest dreams. (After all, what’s the point of having dreams that can be attained without any struggle at all? Do they even qualify as dreams if no struggle is involved?)
All the wise guys and smarty pants tell us that struggle makes us strong and shapes our way of being. Just scroll around in a good online quote collection like the one you can access by clicking on the button below. You’ll find a plethora of examples.
It is not such a big leap to believe (especially after all that meandering around through smart-guy thoughts) that if struggle helps to shape your way of being, then you can influence the way your life goes by choosing what you’re going to struggle for or struggle against.
Perhaps all you need to do is choose your own “good fight” and work on getting that one right. Your life will develop meaning and mana as you work on through the struggle and fight your own good fight.
WHAT’S A “GOOD FIGHT”?
The term “good fight” is actually Biblical in origin. In the King James version of The Good Book, 2 Timothy 4:7 says, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.”
This, it seems to me, is a powerfully triumphant statement at the end of one’s life.
Evangelists use this scripture as a rallying cry for being good and faithful Christians, but it can also be used more generally as an admonition to do your best to support what you feel is right and good and true.
A question you might want to consider as you’re making your way through the world, is this one:
What do YOU feel is worth fighting for?
When that question is asked of many people, the answers will be as varied as the people involved. Perhaps there will be one “good fight” that resonates with you, one you can claim for your own.
It is possible that pursuing that one may be what will add a profound sense of meaning and mana to the life you are living.
If you do find the one “good fight” that matters most to you, you may want to ask yourself:
What am I doing to fight my good fight?
Can I do more?
And then you go on from there.
THE FLY IN THE OINTMENT
As always, with all these mind-games, there is a kicker in the mix. The thing about being “down for the struggle” is that you do, eventually, take ownership of the massive, chronic, big old problem or the very good thing you have either committed yourself to whittling down or to building up strong.
Throwing yourself against the conundrums and battering your way through obstacles and all that can create a momentum that takes you farther than you ever thought you’d go.
It is probably inevitable that at some point your struggle is likely to become the end-all and be-all of your way of walking.
And that’s why, every so often, you need to stop and look at where you’ve been and where you’re going. That’s when you do need to ask one other question:
Is my “good fight” taking me where I want to go?
And that one might be the hardest and most important question of them all. It’s the one that only you can answer and your answers will help you choose the direction in which you want to continue on this walk of yours.
Hint: Is there joy for you in it? Is the joy in the doing worth all of the pain of your struggle?
A GOOD FIGHT SONG
Every good fight needs an anthem, I say. I ran across a lovely YouTube video that was uploaded and shared by The Piano Guys in 2015. It’s a mash-up of Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song” and John Newton’s “Amazing Grace” and the traditional “Scotland the Brave.” They were joined by members of the Wasatch and District Pipe Band for the music.
The setting for the video is the beautiful Eilean Donan Castle in Dornie, Scotland.
The Piano guys are pianist-songwriter Jon Schmidt, cellist-songwriter Steven Sharp Nelson, producer-videographer Paul Anderson and music producer-songwriter Al van der Beek. They make music and they make cool videos which they share.
The lyrics of American singer and songwriter Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song” took the world by storm in 2015 when it was released as a single by Columbia records.
It topped the charts in the United Kingdom and Poland. It peaked within the top ten singles in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and Ireland and the top twenty in Slovakia, even. In the United States it sold over six million copies. Wo!
It was one of the inspirations for the Piano Guys’ video.
Click on the button below for a look at the lyrics to the song, that was uploaded to YouTube in 2020 by AweLyrics.
Here’s a poem:
The Mundanities are three:
People, money, time.
If you understand those things,
Then, the world begins to rhyme.
The Celestials, too, are three:
Spirit, heart and mind.
If you figure those things out,
Heaven’s what you’re bound to find.
Here’s the thing, though….
If the Celestial’s your main focus
The mundanities make you fall.
Too much of the mundane
And you can’t see up at all.
The only answer’s balance
And that’s not easy to do.
There really is no recipe
For this ever-changing stew.
You do the best you can.
You give the best you’ve got.
You’ll rise up and you’ll fall,
And, for sure, you’ll hurt a lot.
And when there are no answers,
When you can’t see what to do,
You can only trust the simple truth
Residing inside of you:
That the universe keeps changing
Moving first this way, then that,
And if you follow where it leads you,
You might make it through intact.
By Netta Kanoho
Photo credit: “Road to Nowhere” by Enot91 via Flickr [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]
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