Traversing hardships is painful, but sometimes the only, inevitable way. We cannot avoid the physical pain of childhood, from personal friends who fail us, to educational challenges, to social disappointments. Even genuine growing pains, as legs lengthen and arms abound into adulthood. Sometimes the singular path to our life is stretching and mournful discouragement.

But take heart! The character building is for a time, just as growing pains are for a season. This pruning is to be a time of contemplation and consideration, to silence the heart from all the noise of the world. It’s a sacred space meant to carve out all which needs to be whittled away.

Like an artist adding bits of clay or carving away to unveil her sculpture, or a painter layering his masterpiece, one color constant, then suddenly shading upon another. We cannot see the canvas on which our life is being created. Yes. Sometimes the painful route is the only way.