By Scott Keith –
About 12 times a day I feel like screaming the above phrase from the roof tops. How did we in America, the supposed greatest country in the world, come to believe we are so fragile? We were the country that tamed the west, led the industrial revolution, built the greatest infrastructure known in human history, saved Europe during two World Wars, beat the Soviet Union in the Cold War, and now we feel as though we’ll die if our house only had two bathrooms. Now we want everything to be given to us already bigger and better without having to make it so. We want the end result without any of the work. We want the easy without the hard. Where have we gone so wrong? I have come to believe that it is the hard things that make life really worth living. In embracing this, I have had to embrace the reality that I am not as fragile, physically, spiritually, or emotionally as I think I am; neither are you.
Without turning this into a blog about Living Simply, I do want to say that I think that we, on the whole, have it too easy in America. We seem to believe that suffering means that our children share a bedroom in our 1,500 square foot house. We seem to believe that it would be impossible for anyone, especially ourselves, to endure the temporary loss of a meal, electricity, indoor plumbing, a soft bed, or even our internet, TV, or Starbucks for even a day. Yet many people all over the world see all of these things as luxuries, not as necessities, and manage to do without them every day. They are not as fragile as you think they are; neither are you.
As Pastor Koch (Paul) mentioned last week, we recently traveled to Yosemite on a quick two day trip. Now this trip was not one in which we “roughed it” by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, we stayed in a nice B&B about 50 minutes outside of the park. Yet, this trip was fraught with some tough adventures that made all of us realize that we are not as fragile as we think we are. As Paul mentioned, we hiked to the top of Yosemite falls, which was hard for some physically, others mentally, and others spiritually. The hike was hard, we were short on water, the landscape was inspiring yet demanding, and we were all at different levels of ability to complete the task. 7 hours later, we made it up and down, sore and thirsty, but safe and sound nonetheless. You see, we were not as fragile as we thought we were; neither are you.
I have enjoyed spending time in the out of doors since I was a teenager and young adult. I have never quite understood exactly why, since I am not the one who appreciates beauty as much as I should. I love living simply (see the hat in my profile pic), but I don’t think that sums it up either. Recently, I have come to think that because whether it is a tough hike, grilling mountain bike ride, arduous trail run, or nearly impossible climb, the common denominator is that these things are hard. We have it pretty easy in our day to day lives and sometimes it feels right to do something hard, something that will encourage me to stop lying to myself. I occasionally like for a rock or a trail to remind me of how limited I really am. When I know my limits, I know that I was created very good, yet am a sinner, but still have the imago Dei within me and am not as fragile as I think I am; neither are you. Not to be too cliché with the proof-texts, but the Apostle Paul said something similar: “And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” So go do something hard that will allow you to stop lying to yourself for a day too. Oh yeah… Make your kids do some hard stuff too before they leave the nest, the rest of the world will thank you for it. Let’s all gain a little more “proven character” when we can.