“Remember, it is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat." Theodore RooseveltEight or so years ago, I was given this quote by a collegue at a teacher training. I have thought about it many times throughout the years, mostly when I was weary-worn and ready to wave the white flag.
I often wish that someone would have bellowed this truth at me daily in my twenties and early thirties. Maybe someone did, maybe I wasn't listening. I very often tell, maybe even lecture, young ladies that life is something less than ideal. We, females in general, often expect things to go perfectly, thinking that doing the right thing should come easily and should be accompanied with bells, whistles and shouts of accolade. That is so -not true. Life is troublesome, we are to expect persecution. It is difficult. There is a mixture of good and bad, it is never just one or the other. Raising a family, living in community, building the Kingdom - is messy, emotionally taxing, and risky. It is also worth-while, warm and full of unexpected joy. It is riddled with failure, pain, loss, and plain ol' sinfulness; but then again, it is peppered with laughter, hope, accomplishments, and and indescripable beauty; and through it all, the ties of His ever-present grace lovingly sustains us.
How can this be? and Why is this so? Are these questions even important?....life will always be a mixture of bouts of defeat and glimmers of victory. And we trust in God's kind, merciful sovereignty to pours over us gratuituosly, and it does.