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“A gem cannot be polished without friction, nor a man perfected without trials.” — Lucius Annaeus Seneca
I can’t speak for everyone, but living a life without trials and tribulations sounds pretty good to me. Imagine a country where we don’t have to worry about the vocabulary we use, or the politics we follow, or the company we keep. Just think how peaceful life would be if people weren’t called terrorists or Nazis or insurrectionists.
Doesn’t it sound lovely?
Yet the type of life I’m describing is a life that lacks vibrancy, opportunity, and growth. It is a life empty of possibility and without the conditions for being elevated and challenged. Essentially, to me, it would be no life at all.
So as trying as life has been over the last few years with the threats of totalitarianism, cancel culture, and wokeness, we also can see the seedlings of blessings.
We can notice those moments when the reluctant are learning how to speak up and protest. We can praise those who stand up for freedom and fairness and a democratic republic. We can honor the resilience of those who refuse to be silenced and stopped.
For the record, I don’t believe that man can be perfected, nor should we try to attain perfection. But I hope that Seneca was talking about the journey of perfection as a process of maturation, rather than a goal to be attained.
On a personal level, there are many ways that life can “polish” us over time. For me, I’m much more patient with people and willing to take more risks. For others, learning how to speak in front of an audience without stage fright is a great accomplishment. Still others have learned to be great teachers by homeschooling their children–a way to “refine” those children for their future in the real world.
As human beings, we are meant to strive for a life of meaning, relationship and hope.
May we continue to fight for this country and for each other.
[photo from unsplash.com]Published in