Are you ever a little jealous of people that appeared to have it easy? I am! Over the years, as I have encountered particular Jesuits, friends, coworkers and family members gracefully walking a road to happy destiny, I am in awe of how daily struggles evaded them, while they were so familiar to this dramatic artist. I’d sit back and think to myself, “How lucky these people must be to have it so easy.”
The other day, while glancing at a Youtube video sent by one particularly lucky Jesuit friend, I caught insight into the secret of having it easy. In a launch for her book The Lost Husband, author and mother Katherine Center reads from an advice letter to her daughter (Feel free to watch the entire video, but pay particular attention to 2:20):
It seems counter intuitive that the secret to an easy life is to embrace difficulty. At the same time, this embrace proves how much power resides in perception. That which is arduous can be looked at as arduous, but it can also be looked at as opportunity, part of a daily refinement that makes us more loving. This opportunity gives purpose to that which is difficult. Indeed, it makes that which is not easy appear easy.
In truth, nobody really has it easy – at least not any easier than I do. Almost everyone struggles with anxieties, insecurities, fears, heartbreaks and disappointments. We all find it a challenge to be vulnerable, to forgive, to grow. Each day, we encounter the same 24 hours with similar hopes and equally as similar unexpected outcomes. We have known failure, loss, success and gain.
But the real difference lies in outlook. Instead of demanding that exteriors acquiesce to fit a particular expectation, perhaps greater success comes from a focus on the interior. With gratitude for every opportunity– both difficult and easy, painful and painless, we are guided by a sense peace that illumines, that, no, it isn’t easy. But it isn’t meant to be. “The beauty is the struggle, after all.”