Today I was in the kitchen for eight hours. I started by
making homemade rolls, moved on to banana nut muffins, and then finished with
By the time our dinner guests arrived, the kitchen was
sparking, the extra food was wrapped and in the freezer, the potpie was in the
oven and the muffins were cooling on the stove.
We ate, they left, and I went back in for clean up.
As I was standing in the kitchen late this afternoon, I was
taken back to my time in high school. I was a good student. I was also a
hard-working, high stress student. It used to drive me crazy when people would
remark how easy I had it, how everything just came to me. I fully acknowledge
that my intelligence comes from God – a gift to be sure. But, I also spent
countless hours and sleepless nights studying and working for the grades I
earned. It may have looked easy, but I assure you, it was not.
That’s what happened tonight. When the guests walked in, I
was relaxed and everything was ready right when it was supposed to be. It
appeared, I’m sure, effortless to some extent. It took all day to make it look
It’s a lesson that I think is missing today. Success doesn’t
just happen; it’s the result of a great deal of effort on the part of the
person experiencing it. Look at any professional athlete. That quarterback’s
perfect pass isn’t only raw talent; it’s the culmination of years of practice,
conditioning, and plain old hard work. The teacher who blows you out of the
water with his or her creative and engaging lesson didn’t just wing it. That
little activity was the end product of years of studying and hours of planning
In short, if you want to be successful, you have to work.
Too many times, we want everything to just come to us. We
want to be able to lose weight, be fit, make money, and learn a trade simply by
osmosis. We want it to just happen to us – for us. Every once in a blue moon,
you find someone who just got something handed to him, but mostly you hear
stories of struggle and loss before the biggest gains.
Mackenzie is attempting to learn guitar this year. So far,
she’s discovered how burdensome it is to carry that thing back and forth from
school, developed blisters on all of her fingers, looked up the chords she’s
forgotten, and strummed the same notes…a lot. She may learn it faster than a
few others because she’s already taken piano lessons for many years. But
regardless of that experience, it’s still going to take a lot of work for her
to learn to play the guitar well.
I hope she sticks with it, somewhat because I feel like we
deserve to have a sing along or two after the hours of repetitive chords we’ve
listened to, but mostly because of how proud of herself she will be when she
plays that first song. She will appreciate how far she’s come and how much work
it took to get there and that’s the sweetest success of all.