It is easy to celebrate people who turn their lives around; the drunk who stops drinking, the druggie who puts down the needle, the rebellious child who comes home. Sometimes, as we celebrate these victories (and I do believe they are victories), we can forget that people who don't get caught up in such socially unacceptable behavior struggle, too.
Just because a teenage girl doesn't get pregnant, one can not assume the temptation has not presented itself. And just because someone doesn't get caught up in drugs or drinking doesn't mean their life is easy with no cause to self-medicate. Nor does it mean that they don't struggle. Sometimes life looks easy from the outside, but it really isn't.
I know an amazing woman who is finishing her race here on earth. Literally, she has days left before cancer will claim her life. Yet she is facing the inevitable with such grace and peace, it could be tempting to write off her struggles, heartache, disappointment, and pain because she makes dying with dignity look so easy when it most definitely is not.
Marriage is another good example; it is easy to assume that people who are happily married never struggle. I guarantee you, they do. If you've been married for more than a day, you've probably been disappointed or hurt by, and you've hurt and disappointed, the one you love.
The difference between those who have the amazing recovery stories and those who never had anything to recover from, the difference between those whose marriages are restored through a marriage conference or counseling, the difference between those who die with dignity and those who don't; choices.
Anyone can choose to do what is easy, to take the path of least resistance. Many do. It is a daily battle to choose what is right, to speak with grace to someone who has been rude to you, to wipe up the counters (again) after your spouse or child helps in the kitchen, to pick up towels or put down toilet seats or wipe up tooth paste AGAIN, to hold that crying infant without shaking him, to calm a panicked toddler when you are panicking inside. All these victories (and many more) go unrecognized and uncelebrated because those who do them make it look easy. It is not.
So, to my friends in difficult situations, who walk without compromise in a compromising world, I applaud you!! To teenagers who resist the temptation to find love in the wrong places, I celebrate your decision. To men and women who struggle in their relationship but refuse to quit, GREAT JOB! Living life with character and integrity make look easy, but it's definitely not, and those who do need to be celebrated just as much as those who fall and get back up.