It is by the struggle that you draw close to me. This is what my wife woke up with this morning, a dream of sorts, and a very important part of this experience was that it came to her in 1st person, “draw close to me” We talked for hours over this experience and what it meant to both of us.
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Afterwards we looked into the definition and the origin of the word “Struggle”. Surprisingly if comes from an old Norse word “strugr” of arrogance, pride, spitefulness and ill-will.
It has been my experience that struggle is definitely different than suffer. Struggle seems to be a part of life, yet suffering is definitely a choice. So many different examples of this have shown up in my life experiences. Christ on the cross asked the question “Elohim why have you forsaken me” to me he was struggling there, but then he says “It is finished” and he surrendered and was reborn.
I know personally I never grow if I am not in some sort of discomfort, and it definitely seems that the universe has very little interest in me being comfortable.
River rock is generally very smooth, no sharp or jagged edges, yet it did not start this way. Years of being rolled and beat against other rocks, knock the sharp edges off and a sweet smoothness is revealed. Once the edges are removed the rocks settle in nicely against each other and there they lay peacefully until a major event transpires.
So what exactly do I struggle with? Physical discomfort for sure, emotional unrest, financial difficulties, these are just a few. So how do these things draw me closer to my divinity? I am fighting against things that are, my pride and arrogance are in full bloom here, the fact that they don’t go the way I’d like has no bearing here, these things just are and acceptance is the key. So maybe the struggle will show me the truth of my own powerlessness.
We have ceased fighting anyone or anything is a practice I follow most of the time. These things show me how self reliance has failed me, they reveal to me that I can’t, god can, and I have the opportunity to let god. The truth for me is that god is not waiting for my permission, more so god is waiting for me to release and watch the miracle. In my teens there were big posters we all hung on our walls, some were black light style and some were catchy slogans, not unlike meme’s today.
One of my favorites was a big rope with a knot tied in the end with a small kitten hanging on by one paw. The slogan said when you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on. I lived most of my life that way and I must say, it didn’t work very well. Nowadays I live my life by the thought, when you reach the end of your rope…”Turn loose and fall into the loving arms of god”.
Perception plays a very large part in it as well. I wrote a song one time about perception. Some of the lyrics went like this:
“I was in the checkout line at a grocery store when it started to rain. The guy at the register started to complain because he had just washed his car, he was noticeably disturbed. The next person in line was a woman who was very, very grateful, she had planted flowers in a garden that morning and felt like this would be wonderfully beneficial to them. The young girl who was running the register said that the rain reminded her of sitting on the porch with her grandfather who had since passed away. It appeared to be a sweet/bittersweet experience. As for me I just like the rain.
To resist struggle in my mind would be the cause of suffering, and the acceptance that struggle is just part of, I left that, that way on purpose. Just part of.
The Borg from Star Trek said that resistance was futile, you will be assimilated, and in my life I would say that this is true for me. My mind loves to tell me what is good and bad, right or wrong, pretty or ugly and yet these are just things that I have been taught. Moral is a word used around the world and yet that word is definitely dependent on the teaching the person has received. An upper class Bostonian family would use that word differently that a poverty stricken southern Alabama family might.
I am not a person of Jewish heritage, however I have been told that the reason there were so many laws laid out for them in scripture was so they could see that no-one could keep the law. Self reliance would and always will fail, this pointing us back to our god(whatever that may be for you) for help or just for someone to share our fear with. Many prayers go up when we are in the midst of a crisis or collapse.
So struggle does draw us closer to god, it gives us the frailty to need god, to need help, to need… It is in this need that we find strength, it takes amazing strength to trust an invisible being, an idea, a spirit, whatever your power is.