1 a : not easily penetrated : not easily yielding to pressure
8 a (1) : difficult to bear or endure
I talked to a friend today who is walking through a valley. It's not the first valley she's walked and I found my love for and admiration of her grow as she confessed to feeling her faith tossed about during this time. She wants to walk with confidence, knowing that the outcome is in God's hands, not her own. But she feels every bump along the way. This makes me admire her all the more: that she can admit her life is hard right now.
I'm a bit fearful of people who have it all together. Or perhaps I should say that I'm fearful of people who appear to have it all together. Because do any of us really have it all together?
My friend is loving her family well but at great cost to her personally. Is that easy? No. And I think it's far better for her to admit to a friend that it's not easy than to put a happy face on it and pretend that she had superhuman strength. It's hard and it's OK to say that it's hard.
I think one reason my college experience was hard for me was because I went to a university that had a culture where it was of paramount importance to keep up appearances and I have always valued authenticity. And it's pretty difficult to be authentic when you're making sure everyone else thinks you have it all together.
I think it's interesting that the first definition of hard is "not easily penetrated." When our hearts are hard, it's easier to make it look like nothing is "difficult to bear or endure." It's only when we allow ourselves to admit that something is hard that we have hearts soft enough to be penetrated, which actually makes the enduring easier.
I wish I could be more like my friend. I don't wish I were in her circumstances, but I wish I had the mercy and grace to love people in spite of the hurt they've caused me. I wish I could set aside old wounds and love well. I'm working on that. In the meantime, I'm going to try to keep my heart soft, not hard. So that when the hard times come, I'll be able to bear them with grace and honesty.