Having said that, maybe I just haven't ever tasted a peach that had to struggle.
Peaches that struggle end up tasting sweeter.
This may sound strange but below in an email excerpt from the director of my grad school program is an explanation:
There is an orchard outside of Bowling Green, KY, that grows the world's best peaches (I realize this is a bold claim, but trust me). Once my mom and I were there buying peaches and one of the owners told us that they had had the perfect year for peaches because the conditions had been a little bit difficult. He went on to tell us that the best way to grow peaches was in conditions that aren't too difficult (because then the peaches die), but also aren't too perfect because, "the peaches are sweeter when they have to struggle."
Interesting, isn't it?
Even more interesting is the next bit of that same email from my director, Sarah Suiter:
I think this principle applies to humans (and gatherings of humans, like community) as well, and am hopeful that the conditions you're facing are of the "a little bit difficult" variety :).
This concept really resonated with me.
I love quotes and referred to this one throughout the process of applying to grad school:
And now that I am in grad school, it takes even more work. (Duh.)
This weekend in particular, I have been preparing for my first test of graduate school, a 30 page paper that is due soon AND prepping to lead the class that I TA while my professor is out of the country for a conference this week. Yes. Because life always happens all at once. Doesn't it seem like things aren't ever spread out in a way that would make them easier to tackle?
Often, there is struggle.
Struggle in pursuing a grad school degree, in making a long distance relationship work, in establishing community in a new city, in finding a new church home, in figuring out your future... not that I speak from experience or anything ;)
But the good stuff - earning a master degree and As on tests, marrying the man you love, making solid friends, feeling a part of a church, discovering your life plan - all that stuff is WORTH the work it takes...
And I have a feeling that it probably wouldn't feel so good if it didn't take that effort... just like a peach doesn't taste as sweet without a little struggle.
This idea - that struggle makes life (and peaches) taste sweeter - keeps reminding me of this wonderful short film I saw a few years ago called The Butterfly Circus.
It tells the story of a different kind of circus traveling around during the Great Depression era. In particular, it focuses on a limbless man who was degraded as a freak in a side show of a typical circus but then is transformed by coming into community with the Butterfly Circus.
The leader of the Butterfly Circus has a beautiful mantra that goes along with the idea of struggle leading to sweetness:
"The greater the struggle, the more glorious the triumph."
If you haven't seen the film, I highly recommend you watch it.
It gives phenomenal perspective when you think something like grad school homework is actually hard. Maybe I should re-watch it right now...? ;)
But, really, the film is wonderful and I hope you find time to watch it.
Going with the film's and circus' symbolism, just think of the work and struggle a caterpillar endures to become a butterfly.
That is certainly a sweet ending.
Whatever you're dealing with in life right now, I hope - to quote my director and her email - "that the conditions you're facing are of the 'a little bit difficult' variety."
Here's to sweet peaches and struggles turning into triumph in life!