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The Axe

Think on this:

If today I avoid the axe, for fear of the blisters it will bring, then I will fail to cut down the tree that will build my house tomorrow.

This is what we do. This is what a lot of married couples do. We pick some line, some pain, some event that we want to avoid and we make that our focus. We avoid some line or some task that will bring us pain; for fear of the blisters.

Sometimes in that avoidance couples decide on divorce. They decide it's too hard and they move on. Then their second marriages start up and eventually reach that same stage, some impasse or boundary that can't be crossed. And again they choose to avoid the that pain and choose another, divorce.

That point in space is something we define for ourselves as immovable and impassable. We often define that point years in advance of it actually occurring. In turn, it defines us. So when we come to that point, that boundary, and decide to move past it, it's as if we are abandoning a part of ourselves.

That's when it fights back and our mind turns to all those reasons that that part of ourselves is right. We don't look at the fact that we made that decision when we were 12 or 21, and put it in the context of all the other stupid decisions we made at 12 or 21. No, it's part of who we are and we were right to keep it sacred. That piece of our identity attempts to self preserve by dredging up every reason we were right about our decision and why we should stand firm.

In some instances such a decision is commendable. No one should be trampled on unnecessarily People should be able to take a stand on issues they feel strongly about. That's all well and good. But where do you draw the line between self-preservation and intractability. When is someone upstanding versus just plain stubborn? When are they just avoiding the axe for fear of some blisters?

That's sort of the challenge of life; picking those moments when an experience may be painful, but worthwhile. You may get some blisters, but you gain callouses and skills and build something truly worthwhile. You push that part of you down and reincorporate it and you learn from it. You don't learn the lesson you thought you'd learn and you don't get to teach the lesson to your kids you thought you would, you get something completely different and maybe even better out of it.

If you want to build the house, you have to build your skills with the axe first. The blisters will happen and eventually you will get stronger and you will also learn how to avoid them without avoiding the axe itself. Eventually you'll get so good you'll decide to master other tools you've avoided. Then you'll build a safe and happy home.