“By yourself, you’re unprotected.
With a friend, you can face the worst.
Can you round up a third?
A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped.”
Ecclesiastes 4:12 (MSG)
It has been a hard year for my family. It has been a year of challenges, on the school front, on the home front, and on the work front. While we have had many times of laughter and fun throughout the year, we would not call this year one of great happiness.
Yet in the midst of the challenges this year has thrown at us there has been a real sense of joy. A joy that comes from journeying together through the hard stuff.
Just yesterday, my daughter was remembering our holiday down south in the middle of this year. While we were down there my girls discovered the joy of clambering over the rocks. But, what my eldest reminded me in the retelling was how much that was a joint family activity.
We all helped each other. It was a team effort. One of us looked for the best path through. Another pointed out dangers. We all helped each other over the difficult places and celebrated together when we reached the top and appreciated the amazing view. Then we carefully helped each other back down.
This year has been a year of helping each other navigate through the rocks of life. We have worked together to help each other through and comforted each other when we fell. And we have successfully got to the end. We are sitting at the end of the year, looking back over how far we have come, and the things we have worked through.
The view from here is amazing. That deep joy of reaching the end of a hard journey together is more satisfying than that of navigating an easy path.
As the verse from Ecclesiastes highlights above, doing life with others does not stop life being hard. But, it sure makes the hard things easier to bear.
As a family, we are all looking back on this year with a sense of accomplishment and pride. “Look at us. Look at what we have dealt with this year. Look how far we have come.” We look back on this difficult year and we smile, for the joy has come in doing hard things together.
Merry Christmas and my prayer is that you are surrounded by others to journey with,