I have read this quote by John Paul ll a hundred times the past few years. It's printed inside the cover of one of my favorite photo books and every time I see it I think wider horizons, what a great image to look forward to. This whole baby journey has been one of those steeper roads for me. When I'm struggling through a difficult pregnancy it's like being in survival mode for the entire nine months. And not just for me, but our whole family. We all have to change the way we do things. Bed rest, complications, being sick 24/7... it's so draining I have ended up in tears so many times just feeling like I have nothing left to to give. Like I want to climb in bed and not wake up until the baby is here. But then I'm reminded, with each little kick inside my belly, that at the end of this nine month journey, there lies our wider horizon.
That's where I should keep my focus.
Not on how steep the mountain is.
There seems to be such an objective these days to make everything easier... parenting, careers, every day life. I hear this idea a lot when I have my arms full of little ones and am juggling errands and groceries and everything else under the sun... why have another baby when my pregnancies are so hard? Or why choose to homeschool when it's so much extra work? There seems to always be this implication of an easier life just down the other path, an easier route we could chose. But that's not how I see things. I've never had this perception that life is supposed to be easy. In fact, if I were to teach my children to chose the easy way of doing things, I would actually feel I am failing them as a parent. Life is hard.
But hard does not equate with and so you shouldn't do it.
These challenges shape us and mold us into stronger people. They stretch us out of our comfort zones and through our suffering we grow this amazing love and appreciation for life. I don't want to look back and say I did things the easy way. That I based all my parenting choices on what will give me the most free time. Or chose to give up on things I believed in because they were too hard to attain. There are things in our lives that are a lot of work. But it's the kind of work that is so monumentally rewarding that we find a way to make it happen.
My favorite Archbishop of all time, Fulton Sheen, once said that it is important to give, not just a little, but all you have. And it is only when we've emptied ourselves of everything that we are filled back up. We shouldn't be afraid of emptying ourselves out. Of doing hard things. What did Kennedy say about going into space? We do these things not because they are easy, but because they are hard.
That's the idea. (these men know what they're talking about!)
That is what I want to teach my children... to take on the hard and messy things in life. To have the grace and confidence to fall and get back up again. To rise to the challenges they face.
And too know that the steep mountain roads are what lead to our wider horizons.