5/15/10

What would you know about Hardship?

"The very greatest things - great thoughts, discoveries, inventions - have usually been nurtured in hardship, often pondered over in sorrow, and at length established with difficulty." ~Samuel Smiles

Well with a last name like that, I bet a lot of pressure was on him to smile for most of his life. Maybe he started off as having the last name "Smile" and then learned to smile when it seemed like people were telling him what to do when they’d say his name, "Samuel, Smile!" The extra s maybe came as a result of him finally learning to do it, like "Oh look everyone! Samuel Smiles! My name was plural all through high school according to most students, "Hey Stevers, what’s going on?" I’d look around me to see if my brother was with me.

But with such an enlightened quote as that, I imagine Samuel really did experience hardship, sorrow and difficulty. Those three words are pretty brutal. A person wouldn’t go to them unless they understood their context. There is such a tremendous amount of hope in that quote, "great thoughts, discoveries, inventions…" Aren’t those the very things we strive for and dream about? If it’s through ‘hardship, sorrow and difficulty’ that we can achieve those, why do we see those three words as the end of our state? Should they not simply be part of the method to get there?

The word that I love the most in the sentence though is "nurtured". When he says, "nurtured in hardship" I can’t help but become revived! Phrasing it like that dilutes the word hardship to its rightful place on the paint palette. It simply becomes a tool in the art studio. I think what we have done is given the hardship word a capital H when it really should only have a small h. I feel we should apply the capital to the word Nurtured because that is the more important thing that is taking place! It’s growth! Cool, isn’t it?

You could apply the same theory to the phrase "pondered over in sorrow". We forget that while we are experiencing sorrow, we are quite often Pondering (we’ll give that a capital P for fun) or thinking on a much higher level! That is very exciting! It means we are alive and the brain wants to figure it out!

Of course, your eyes may have already started looking for the next possibility (a word I just love) in the sentence which is interesting to me because it means we are all starting to view the negatives in a more appropriate way! When my eyes scanned the sentence again looking for more possibilities, I found; "established with difficulty". Established! (with a big E) Isn’t that an excellent word? Feeling like you have Established something takes you out of a state of ‘limbo’-the place most of us absolutely loathe being!

I feel like with this new outlook, I can begin to look for areas in my life that deserve a small letter and award the words in my life the capital they are worthy of. There are areas in my world that need to be highlighted (while not omitting the small letter words because they are part of my palette) and put in their place. The hardships, sorrows and difficulties I am facing are part of the puzzle, but they are not the finished art. They have their place like Nurturing, Pondering and Establishing but like anything you zoom in too close on, they can become distorted.

Quotes are not just words to live by for me, they are sometimes phrases (like in Samuel Smiles case) constructed by an artist. If I can read them and give them a direct application to something that is going on with me or others in a very real way, they take on a whole new dimension. Quotes are bite-sized thoughts that I can sink my teeth into without feeling overwhelmed. In the case of Samuel who lived in the 1800s, I am extra enthusiastic about what he said because it is standing the test of time and it’s why very old quotes always sit best with me.

Are you experiencing these hardships, sorrows and difficulties? Have you been able to or are you in the process of identifying the accompanying words that go with them? I sat here for probably twenty minutes thinking about all the incidents in my life where I could attach the capital letter words onto my grief-stricken depressive times. Looking back, it’s easier to do than the current things we face. But I don’t believe the theory is any different. It just needs to be looked at in the present day the same way as we can view lessons we’ve already taken in.

Nurturing, Pondering and Establishing seem to be "in the process of" words.
It’s good to know it’s an ongoing journey. Once I can wrap my head solidly around the fact that life is a journey and not a destination like we’ve heard so many times (and didn’t bother applying) I think it will all be ok… ;)

Hugs! (((((((((((((community hug))))))))))))))))
Karen :)

"Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." ~Plato

1 comment:

  1. ((((((((((((((((((((((((((HUGS BACK)))))))))))))

    ReplyDelete