November 27, 2000
Well, I'm still alive and the world hasn't crumbled around me. ;-)

My final divorce papers are now on the judge's desk waiting to be signed. I declared October 24th to be Independence Day because that was when the papers went into the mail to come to me after my exhusband signed them. It was then I realized he could no longer hold up the process.

My children and I are starting to do better. I haven't been able to pinpoint when it happened, but somehow inside of me, I realize that I am truly on the mend. I am finally healed enough to return to some of the truths I knew all the long, without the toxic misconceptions that were once attached to them.

This weekend I had the unexpected opportunity to examine something I knew intellectually, but while I was composing the words to explain it to someone else, this truth emblazoned itself on my heart. It is a hard truth to swallow in some ways, yet as I grapple with it, a feeling of power wells up in my soul.

I believe in a subtle God who allows us to have our own free agency and to prove our own mettle. If we are not given a chance to fail, we cannot truly be successful. How can a test be a test, if there is no chance to be wrong? And if there are not innocents that suffer, then we can't have true evil and if true evil is not allowed to exist, then there is no such thing as true good.

Some people think that this is a good reason to be jerks to others. That if misery makes us better people, then we should inflict pain on others to help them.

But how does that help us?

Misery helps us to recognize a good thing when we have it, but there is no challenge in keeping misery around at all. It happens. To expect everyone to be happy and contented all the time is extremely naive. To use this as an excuse to be abusive, nothing less than evil. Good or evil, it is your choice.

The challenges are already there - we don't need to add to them. Some might even agrue that humans evolved especially to deal with challenges. So perhaps we are drawn to them like a dung beetle to dung.

I have developed more skills through my challenges. I don't like them, but I recognize their value. Another challenge is to pick your battles in life. Everyone has their point of exhaustion. Only an idiot would pay hockey while recovering from third degree burns.

There are such things as useless challanges. These waste time without giving any benefit. I don't need to prove anything to anyone. I don't give a damn if people think I'm tough or not. I do know that I have developed more as a person through my challenges and that is all that is truly important.

If it were not for opposition or resistence, I could not even stand. We move because of resistance. Classical Newtonian physics - no great mystery there. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

We also grow because of resistance. Do you know what happens when you break the shell away from a baby bird instead of letting it break out of it on its own? The bird dies. It's the struggle that gives it the strength to live. The same thing happens when you don't let a butterfly break out of its own chrysalis. Without the struggle, its muscles are too weak to work and the insect suffocates.

You cannot live without resistance. Your muscles and bones would be weak. That's what happens when you stay too long in zero gravity without doing something to strengthen them. And that something always requires a form of resistance.

If this is so true with our physical bodies, then why should we expect it to be any less truer for our minds or our spirits?

Life has always had struggles. To wish them away is beyond idealism. To add to them purposely, is being stupid. We, as a species, have been struggling for thousands of years. We are geared for the battle. Without it, our spirits die. More than one person have lost the will to live when they felt there was nothing left for them to do with their life. It is the struggle that makes one's life worthwhile.

Coincidently, the day after I expressed this concept, I received this story in my email box. I call it "Thanking God for Your Thorns" and it brought me to tears. It brought to mind two other things sent to me in the past year - The Little Soul and A Work of Art.

I now realize that "May you live in interesting times" truly is a blessing. Without my demons, I would have no angels. Without my failures, I would have no triumphs. Without my sorrow, I would have no joy. It truly is the battle that makes life worth living.

My path is before me now. It will not be an easy one. I will still cry and kick and scream, but I will not hide from it. For it is my path. By all that is holy, it is mine and mine alone.

And I will never again let someone take me from it.

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