I was cleaning up around my reading chair this morning and I ran across a quote that I had jotted down from a book I read this summer by Joan Anderson called A Year By the Sea. Within the pages, she tells about her chance meeting and subsequant friendship with Joan Erikson, who was a dancer, an accomplished writer and the wife of psychologist Erik Erikson. It’s an interesting read. In the prologue, she sums up Joan Erikson’s (who was a vivacious nonagenarian at the time) wisdom on life:
“Welcome each day like a good meal.”
“The essence of a life well-digested comes from knowing your strengths, overdosing on the senses, and remaining active and playful.”
“Keep your hands on the plow–push–don’t ever stop pushing.”
“Always be willing to give a little more energy–the tension should always be there–then your life will never go limp.”
The tension should always be there. Living in the tension has an intregal purpose. Most of us think of stress as a negative, and we strive for relief from it. But a life absent of the tension is limp and lifeless. It is the struggle that makes the victory. Tension is the substance of the work that grows character. Struggling with what we believe and working it out each day is the work of this lifetime. There is a honesty and satisfaction found in the hands that move the plough through the dirt of each day, in minds that don’t settle too quickly for “good enough,” in hearts that yearn for more.
After reading your post and Karen’s comment, I realized it’s about getting to the top of the mountain, we rest in the valley but we are not remain there.
It’s unfortunate that our tendency is to settle for the valley rather than to cast our eyes forward to the mountain. I wonder if there comes a day where we are filled with the regrets of “if only.” Or worse, standing before the Father, hearing those words. I know that I don’t aim as high sometimes because I’m afraid of failing. But then, perhaps that IS the failing. Some things to ponder today. Hope you are doing well!
I hear you, Karen! I am guilty of not trying if I think I won’t do well. Sometimes, I’m far too comfortable. You’ve had such a year healthwise with you family. You’re often in my thoughts, dear friend.