I’m one to talk. I know. Let me watch you long enough and I can pick out a flaw or two, because I do that. I look for holes and weaknesses out of pessimist’s/realist’s habit. I’m good at finding something to complain about and then complaining about it. So I’m one to talk about beautiful struggles.
But I was scrolling through my Quote Library and I found one of my old favorites:
Like most tragic human beings, I use others’ words to attest to my own tragedy. In this case, I was trying to affirm my brokenness.
I was fifteen or sixteen when I first began calling myself broken. Most people probably don’t know the point at which they broke but I have a night that I go back to. That night I almost believed that emptiness was physical and that sadness could supply the body with enough hydration to cry forever if the weight was dark enough. I felt something inside me go to sleep. I never once believed that I would ever wake it up again.
It was painful, of course. And when I think about it, I don’t know how I could ever refer to pain as beautiful. I do, though. I find broken people beautiful. One or two important visitors in my life slowly taught me to find myself beautiful too. That did wonders for my mind, heart and spirit; but it also gave me new excuses. I am not actually becoming beautiful in my sadness, I am just justifying the sadness in me. I am a hypocrite.
“Pain builds character”
If I truly, madly believed that struggle is important — even admirable — I could and should seek it more often, with the interest of becoming better, stronger, more inspiring.
But I don’t.
I run in the opposite direction as quickly and as often as I can. Sometimes I even run the tired, old excuse “Haven’t I been through enough?” (I must note that I actually scorn this excuse, which only adds more shame to my using it.) All in all, I am as terrified of struggle as all of the broken and unbroken people in the world. Having been-there-done-that never makes it easier or more tolerable.
But my point in all this is that it doesn’t have to be this way: it can change. I can change. I don’t have to let my demons grow bigger or laugh at me while I cower. I can be the type of person I sometimes pretend to be: the one who gladly welcomes struggle in the faith that it might make her beautiful.
Because maybe beauty creates itself by working on itself. Maybe even with suffering and loss, beautiful people do not just happen.