"You have to love the process."
~ A. Kesselmark
My very big hearted and verbose friend said these words in a speech about baseball a few weeks back and they stuck with me. Whether he knew it or not, he was enlightening us all with the meaning of life.
Everything in our world is process. Everything you focus on in your life is process. We hear the cliche "it's the journey, not the destination" and those words are also true but are more abstract, less relatable when you are in the soup of daily life and think the destination sounds pretty good. It's in the monotony and work of daily life that you have to love the process. It's the old shit sandwich story. You need to find your flavor of shit sandwich because you're going to have to eat it. The sandwich is the process. The sandwich is all the "failures," the losses, the disappointments, the pain. You have to love the pain of what you're doing or you won't last.
My son's shit sandwich is hockey. He is twelve and has extraordinary capacity for the pain involved in the sport. I don't mean physically, I mean mentally. This was us yesterday rolling out of the car after playing five games this weekend when he was short a defensive partner:
J: I can't feel my legs.
J: I'm taking tomorrow off (from exercise)
Me: You have practice tomorrow night.
J (remembering practice schedule): I will take Thursday in three weeks off.
I laughed. For four years he has never once complained about practice. He loves the game and loves the process. For as much as hockey kicks my ass for too many reasons to list here, I am thankful he loves something so much as to lose himself in it as he does.
And this has quickly become my mantra to everything. Loving the process eliminates the false belief in perfection. If you love the process, you accept the imperfection of the situation and love it anyway. That is the secret of unconditional love. You can apply this to marriage, parenting (a must! as both are fraught with imperfection) health, and any other area of your life. It is liberating. If you don't love the process, find a different process. Life's too short to eat other people's shit sandwich.
LOVE THE PROCESS!!!! Brilliant words my friend, brilliant.