Appreciation

Sometimes enduring a hardship will make you appreciate other things more. Sometimes things that take a longer time to accomplish end up being worth much more than things that happen quickly.

Think about the things that happen (relatively) quickly in life: ordering fast food, grocery shopping, getting a coffee from Starbucks, driving to work.  Most of these things fall into the category of chores.  At best, these things will provide you a fleeting moment of satisfaction or happiness.  I would guess you can’t name your favorite (or least favorite) trip to Walmart.

Now think about things that take a long time: getting a college education, week-long vacations, multi-day road trips, preparing a music performance, backpacking trips. These things usually fall into the category of being life-changing.  You definitely won’t soon forget any of these things.  Regardless whether it was a good experience or a bad experience, these things will stay with you forever or at least a good long time.

When things take longer, it is easy to get frustrated with them, but they make you appreciate other things much more.  And isn’t that appreciation alone worth it?

I remember the best breakfast I ever had was memorable because of this phenomenon.  During one backpacking trip with the Boy Scouts, we had been in the back-country for more than 2 weeks without eating anything except dehydrated meals.  We had only showered once.  Although it was the time of our lives, it was difficult and we were beginning to miss the taste of real food.  We got up one morning, expecting to eat more granola and oatmeal before facing punishing mountains.  We were sitting with our packs when the staff invited us into their back-country cabin and sat us around a table.  They began to bring out entire skillets of eggs, pancakes, fresh fruit, and bacon – so much bacon!  They said “eat up boys” and I could have cried.  I think I actually did shed a tear when I began eating.

The food was certainly not restaurant quality but that memory is vivid in my mind. I can picture the exact image to this day because it took us hiking for 2 weeks to get there.  It was a celebration of our accomplishment and our perseverance as well as sustenance.  Plus, THERE WAS BACON!  It was the most life-changing breakfast I have ever had in my life.

I can’t say there are many meals I have had that qualify as life-changing and certainly none of them were ones that I acquired quickly or with little effort.  It is these things that matter the most in life: the things which aren’t achieved easily or quickly.

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