Quitting

A mentor in our kids’ lives disappeared yesterday.  By that I mean he just didn’t show up to their after-school lesson, after three years of bi-weekly meetings.  Didn’t say ‘Listen, kids, I’ve got something to tell you’, didn’t let us down easy.

Someone else hinted that he’d been having problems, that his wife had up and moved to another county.  We would have never guessed any of that because he seemed so resilient, so quietly satisfied with the general out-workings of his life.

So we’re sad today, in a way we can’t place, exactly.  Because it feels like someone died, but they didn’t.

And we didn’t get to say goodbye.

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On Not Quitting the Hard Things

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It’s not OK not to try.  This is what I tell my kids when they’re confronted with a task they believe is too difficult for them.  But how many times do I avoid doing something hard because I’m afraid of failure?  Or, once I’ve started the hard thing, how often do I get dangerously close to quitting when I bump up against a proverbial brick wall?

Too often, if I’m honest.

I’m working on a second novel.  I’m still in the beginning stages, and already I’ve hit snags that leave me perplexed and discouraged.  I knew this would happen before I ever started (it’s the nature of the beast), but the resulting feelings well up in me just the same:  I want to bail on this project.

This realization is discouraging to me.  Why am I still struggling to stick things out, to keep going, to silence the voices of opposition after all this time?  Why am I tempted to not try, or worse, to try and then to give up?

I don’t know.  I hope that, in time, I’ll grow up and leave behind the temptation to quit on hard things.

But what if I don’t?

If I don’t, the solution to the problem is the same–for my kids and for myself:  keep going anyway.  If a thing is worth it, if, in the quietude of saner moments, we’ve decided that it’s of real value, then it must be attempted.

And conquered.