A few years ago I read “Scarred by Struggle: Transformed by Hope”, written by Joan Chittister. Today I am revisiting some of her powerful words to share them with you.
Her premise is that struggle is a gift, and through it we obtain many personal gifts which ‘grow us’ into a new creation. From my experience, I have found there is much to be gained from struggle and the scars we carry are signs to us that our growth has come at a price. But indeed we grow out from our struggles in new directions and new life.
The following are a few excerpts from her book:
“To struggle is to begin to see the world differently. It gives a new sense of self. It tests all the faith in the goodness of God that we have ever professed. It requires an audacity we did not know we had. It demands a commitment to the truth. It leads to self-knowledge. It builds forbearance. It tests our purity of heart. It brings total metamorphosis of soul.
If we are willing to persevere through the depths of struggle we can emerge with conversion, independence, faith, courage, surrender, self-acceptance, endurance, purity of heart, and a kind of personal growth that takes us beyond pain to understanding. Enduring struggle is the price to be paid for becoming everything we are meant to be in the world.”
 Joan D. Chittister p.19
“The isolation that marks any serious struggle is a call to recognize that life is full of gifts that come and go, come and go as we ourselves come and go through the many stages of life. Detachment from the idea that there is only one way for me to go through life joyfully is its key. The pain of loss is a real and a present thing. It manacles my soul and breaks my heart, yes. But holy indifference – detachment – teaches me that there is not room for isolation, abandonment, death of spirit when I lose one thing because I know that there is something else waiting for me in its place.
Designed to enable a person to regard all of life with an open mind and a willing heart, detachment – holy indifference – is the foundation of spiritual discernment.
To discern is to choose between available options on the grounds that both are good but that one is more likely to result in greater growth at this particular time than can be expected from the other under these prevailing conditions, though both are good possibilities. Discernment and detachment are lifelines out of the pit of loss and the island of isolation to which it threatens to dooms us.”
 Joan D. Chittister. op.cit. p.35
Scarred by Struggle, Transformed by Hope.
Cambridge. UK: Wm Erdman Publishing, 2005
Joan Chittister is a Benedictine sister (O.S.B), a former prioress and a social psychologist. She is a well published best selling author with a doctorate in speech communication theory.
Other titles include The Fire in These Ashes and Heart of Flesh.