Friday, April 8, 2016

Beauty In The Struggle

Some of my favorite movies, my favorite books are those that have a protagonist struggling against all odds, getting battered and beaten at just about every turn, only to finally succeed in the end. It’s gut-wrenching. As a viewer or reader, you wonder, ‘How much longer can this go on? Is there any relief in sight?’

I think of Chris and Gordy in the movie, Stand By Me. Two twelve year old kids, the underdogs. Chris comes from a family of trouble makers. He isn’t given much of a chance by his teachers or the system. Gordy comes from a family in which his older brother, the “good and smart son” the “athlete and popular son” dies. His parents can’t get over it and have no time for Gordy, clearly their least favorite of the two.

Of course, there’s Rocky. A second-rate boxer gets his chance at the champion. I’m not a particular fan of boxing or boxing movies, but who cannot watch and hope that this guy bucks the odds and wins the title fight of his life.

In my own writing in the Lives Trilogy, Brett and George rise above all that is presented to them. Abduction. Trafficking. Murder. And yet, they somehow make it. They somehow survive. They somehow rise above, and through it all, there is faith and hope and love.

Many of us just watched March Madness. Sixty-four or so teams competing in a tournament that lasts weeks, culminating with a game between the final two teams. And in that game, the clear underdog ends up winning at the buzzer. If it was a book or a movie, it wouldn’t get written or get sold because those who do the selecting and who make the decisions would have deemed it too predictable. Yet, it happened.

There is a story about a well-meaning mother who saw a butterfly struggling to get out of a cocoon.  The mother, as I said was well-meaning, so she decided to help the butterfly by opening up the cocoon so that the struggle would be less.  When the butterfly broke free, it ended up not being able to fly and in a short time, died.  What this mother didn’t know, unfortunately, was that through the struggle to get out of the cocoon, the butterfly’s wings would become strong enough to fly on its own.  The mother was just trying to help.

Just trying to help . . .

I think we’ve all been in situations where we watch an individual, perhaps our children or a loved one, struggle and strain, and we want to jump in to the rescue. We want to point out that, “If you do it this way . . .” or “I did the same thing when I was your age and . . .”

It’s hard to stand by and watch someone struggle. So very hard. It’s harder when we watch someone compete and lose, over and over. And then at the last, when that someone, a child or loved one, succeeds and wins, we rejoice.

Life can be pretty darn hard. Some have it easier or harder than others. That’s sometimes the way it goes. Not necessarily a rhyme or a reason for it. It just happens. Some of us have been on the receiving end of easy, while others of us, perhaps more of us, are on the receiving end of hard.

Yet, I have to sometimes remind myself, and others, that there is Beauty In The Struggle.

As much as we sometimes hate it, as much as we sometimes are impatient for it to end, and as often as we might struggle and fail . . . or succeed . . . there is Beauty In The Struggle.

It doesn’t pay to be like the woman who tried to help the butterfly get out of the cocoon, because there is nothing gained in that. As well-meaning as she was, as good-hearted as she was, she ultimately failed because the butterfly was not able to gain the strength out of the struggle to survive on its own.

As I’ve said many times in my posts, we’re all in this together. Each of us struggle with failure. Each of us struggle against the odds. Each of us runs into and up against the brick wall. So if we recognize that, we can encourage and support each other. We can lend a hand when and where it is appropriate to do so. But ultimately, we gain the most when we face that struggle and recognize that there is Beauty In The Struggle. Always, there is Beauty In The Struggle.  Something to think about . . .

Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!

To My Readers:

I received one of the nicest comments about my books in the Lives Trilogy. She wrote:
“Some of the most amazing books I have read in a long time. As soon as you start then you are fully addicted and brought into this amazing story. Must read by Joseph Lewis. I never wanted mine to end but yet couldn't put them down.”

If you like thriller-mystery-suspense fiction, you can find them on Amazon in both eBook and paperback, free with Kindle Unlimited:
Shattered Lives, Book Two
Splintered Lives, Book Three
Taking Lives, Prequel to the Lives Trilogy

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Thank you for your comment. I welcome your thought. Joe