Life comes with much necessary suffering and it’s clear we can’t have our cake and eat it too. We must be willing to make many sacrifices to move closer to the lives we want to live. But these chosen sacrifices still come with a cost that should be honored.
To be sure, at every turn we decide what we’re willing to suffer to bring more goodness and meaning into our story.
For instance, we might sacrifice our time and money to pursue the education and training needed to secure the professional career we want to have. And we sacrifice degrees of personal space and time to ourselves to fully embrace married life, as well as our sleep and schedules to be present in the lives of our kids.
But while we are willing to make these sacrifices, they’re still sacrifices. We still have to give something up to have the life we want. And it’s good to at least acknowledge this.
While we’re studying and training for our career, for example, this means we might not have as many lazy and fun-filled weekends as others might have on a different path. And our obligations to our marriage and family life might also require us to give up some of the time we might spend with our friends or just by ourselves.
As we acknowledge these things, we can grieve what we don’t have as we also remember why we’ve chosen the sacrifice we have.
And honoring the suffering that comes with our sacrifices is not to suggest that it was a bad choice. Nor do we have to feel guilty for the suffering. We don’t love our family any less just because life together comes with a high personal cost.
There’s profound joy in our sacrifice even when it comes with a high cost because of the goodness and beauty it brings into our story and the world.
In the end, pain and suffering comes with every sacrifice. Honor the cost of your chosen sacrifices even as you remember with joy your reasons for doing so.