When nothing seems to help, I go and look at a stonecutter hammering away at his rock, perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that last blow that did it—but all that had gone before.
James Clear, "Atomic Habits", Penguin Random House, October 2019
Many times I think to myself, "am I really making a difference"? Why keep trying, why keep fighting, why keep "hammering"?
Two things come to mind when I think about how everything we do adds up to who we are. Our character, who we are as a person, is a sum of everything we do, everything we think.
One... is what "difference" am I expecting? Maybe I trudge through the mud but what I see ahead of me isn't what I was expecting. And maybe that frustrates me or discourages me. I put in this work and I am expecting a certain result. But, what about everything else I've gained because I put in the work in the first place, even though I didn't get what I was expecting? Like "hammering away" at the rock maybe didn't produce a crack or a break, but because I was hammering away constantly, my muscles were strengthened and hardened. Maybe my hand-eye coordination improved tremendously as I pounded that chisel over and over again.
Point is, Heavenly Father has reasons far beyond our understanding for why we go through what we go through. We just need to learn to trust Him and submit.
Two... it's not the final destination that determines who I am but the constant and consistent "hammering away" at my so-called rock. Where I end up is a result of how I traveled. Only one path is straight and it leads back to Heavenly Father. So, if I'm walking, or even crawling, forward on that path, then I'll get to where my Heavenly Father is. Otherwise, if I don't care about being with Heavenly Father and my loved ones for eternity, then it doesn't matter what I do, for any path will lead me to anywhere else. The choice is mine and mine alone.
This life is hard. There are pains and sorrows and regrets and heartache...and we have to live with the consequences of our choices. But there is also happiness and joy and peace and comfort if we know where to look and how to look for it. Our perspective may need adjustment so that thd blinders can be removed. The path may be extremely difficult but the destination it leads to is worth it.