Favorite Quote – the one I keep going back to. 365 Days of Writing Prompts – supposed to be on January 4, but . . .
Yes, life is a struggle and then you die. This quote brings up so many dis-connected thoughts – You start out a farmer’s kid, delaying Christmas until the cows are milked, the barn cleaned, and the pigs fed. You spend your spring following your father as he plows the field, turning over the brown, muddy ground and prepares it for the corn crop; and you spend your summer walking and chopping weeds in row after row of head high corn, sweaty and wet from the moisture cornstocks seem to generate; and you ride a hay wagon, following a hay baler, and loading 64 bales of hay onto each wagon in the perfect, interlocked squares of hay bales; and you spend your late fall walking, and picking the corn, from the same rows, now dry and brittle. In all those cases, it’s a struggle, and you wish for better – cause you sure don’t want to die.
So, off you go to college, hoping for that better life as an engineer and fighter pilot. You continue to be reminded that life is a struggle, even at this bastion of fun, freedom, entertainment, and unlimited opportunities. You start at the lowest academic level available for engineers, taking remedial mathematics because you were so poorly prepared in your small, rural school, and still your grade point was below 2.00 – Uh Oh, probation ! Now it’s going to take you five years, but so what? That first, early, semester, you consider “What am I doing here?” and wonder what else is available? But you struggle on, and, miracle of miracles, your grade point keeps going up. So, “Somebody has to be at the bottom.” gets you through and you struggle on, because you can’t accept the alternative.
You graduate and spend the next 45 years – What should we call it – Struggle? I don’t think so, it was too adventurous, fun, wonderful, to be defined by that negative word. But still, despite the wonderful wife who provided many of both the best and the worst parts of life, the kids who provided the transition from one generation to the next, the jobs that earned the living and provided the glue to everything else, the traveling that was done, the sports that were played, the music that was listened to, and the books that were read. Is it “despite” or “because of” all these adventures, life was hard and struggle was necessary? Because, again, you sure don’t want to die.
Now retirement – and the chance to not struggle as much? Struggle is inherent, never ending, and those of us that understand it generally accept it. There are times when we say “Life is a Struggle and then you die”, but, mostly we don’t believe that, or at least the die part. We each do the best we can and hope that it is good enough to satisfy our own concept of what life is all about.
In my retirement years, I’ve begun to create books – “Have You Seen My 18 Wheeler?”, “Have You Seen My Dadd’s 18 Wheeler?”, and “Russell Builds a Bridge”. All of them help me to show that, maybe, life wasn’t so hard, that I did have experiences that others may like to see, that there are activities for each of us as we continue to pass through this life – in short that I still don’t want to die.
So, even though life is hard at times, and certainly takes continual struggle, it is worth it.