In Praise of the Struggle

I’ve already heard time and time again—things take longer in China. I think it’s hard to fully understand what this means unless you’re here—and obviously I haven’t really grasped the gravity of this, especially in my current hotel dwelling.  Yet, it has still been evident. Last night, I went with a group of fellow teachers to a Chinese tea house for a cultural show.  It ended and we thought we’d take a cab home.  After about 20 minutes of trying to navigate how to get to the street around a series of fences preventing us from getting there, at last we reach the street, and very unsuccessfully attempt to hail a cab. Finally, realizing we could have been halfway home on the subway, we give up.  Then we navigate some more fences to arrive at the subway.  And eventually about an hour later we are back at our “home.”

On our way home, my friend and I began to talk about values…and how when life gets easier it does not always translate to better.  Or at least better for our lives, our friendships, our souls. Even in my short time in China, I have more of an awareness, an appreciation for many things that can easily be taken for granted at home.

I am also reminded how often when everything is relatively easy and within reach we can lose sight of our dependence on one who is greater.  On our interdependence on one another.

Image

We’ve oft heard the quote: “anything worthwhile takes time.”  But I wonder how often we miss out on the reward because we don’t want to take part in the inevitable struggle.  But perhaps what is worthwhile is not only the outcome, but also the character produced from the journey.