the struggle is real

The struggle is real.

I know it’s real because I can see it around me in countless images, and it’s disheartening for me to witness how some folks perpetuate more struggle. I get it though.

I also know it’s real because I can feel it within myself as I push through the growing pains of my quarter-life crisis. I have been let down and rejected repeatedly, and I have felt the urge to perpetuate more struggle, spreading extra servings of bitterness, resentment, and fear all in meager attempts to cope and feel better about myself.

The more I deal with myself responsibly though, the more I recognize something: I have real love.

And that’s a big game changer right there.

As real as the struggle is, I know the love I have is real because it has persisted when I have stopped. It has been faithful when I have not. I have received it in the midst of my own struggles when I needed it most and deserved it least.

Please believe I get that it’s hard out here; folks are mad about all kinds of wrong and doing their best to get by. I’m mad too, I’m hurting too, and I see my own capacity to recapitulate the same kind of struggle, attempting to make right out of more wrong.

For some seemingly justifiable reason, it is easier to perpetuate struggle than to perpetuate love. It’s easier to curse folks out in indignant frustration than to extend genuine grace and forgive. It’s easier to judge those that struggle than to pray for those that struggle.

For me, the way I could deal is to just withdraw, to escape into my own impulsive indulgences and pleasures and pursue what has been denied me by any means necessary. Part of me just wants to do what I want to do without apology, and I can arguably justify doing so. That right there is how I know the struggle is real because as much as I have love, the struggle can discourage me from showing it as counterproductive as it would be.

Interestingly enough, it has been in the moments, when the urge to let darkness overtake light has been strongest, that I have seen love most clearly persist and endure, and I have realized that I really have real love.

I imagine that it is a bit naïve or trite for me to go on and on about love like I do, and yet, it’s the only way I know to tell my story because it is the primary thing that is keeping me. Love settles me and grounds me when I want to withdraw and disconnect from everything. Love motivates me when I want to give up. Love empowers me to do what seems impossible. The love I have endures, covering a multitude of my struggles, including the ones that folks loathe and fear the most.

Most recently, I have been observing people express lots of negativity and contempt towards some of the most detestable struggles, struggles like murder, prejudice, abortion, inequality, drug abuse, adultery; the list is much longer than that. And I certainly don’t want to defend struggle, but I don’t want to condemn it either because I can’t help but wonder if we are all just trying to get by, trying to make it through. And if that’s the case, then I imagine that, whether or not we deserve it, we could all use a break, just some relief from the pressure of this world.

We could use some love.

Consequently, I’m pushing to overcome the inclination to lash out and tear things down in bitterness and angst. I’m pushing to be mature, pushing to be the kind of great man that loves radically and incredibly despite the ever-present struggle that is being served. My experience with real love has proven to me that more wrong doesn’t make things better, it actually makes things worse.

So if you have real love of any kind, please share it. As challenging as it may be, please share love with those who need it most and deserve it least. I’m finding that the more we find ways to do that, the better off we are.

Love Love Love,

Jesse

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