How beautifully difficult
“A child is a guest in the house, to be loved and respected– never possessed, since he belongs to God. How wonderful, how sane, how beautifully difficult, and therefore true.” – J. D. Salinger
As I think about it, “beautifully difficult” is an excellent way to describe what it’s like to have children around. I don’t know any parent who would describe that role as being an easy one.
Caring for anyone or anything on an intimate and daily basis can inspire the sort of possessive attitude Salinger warns against. The line between responsible care-giving and inappropriate control can become perilously thin, and most of us will err on one side or the other at least a few times in our lives. Fortunately, most humans are resilient, and this trait apparently begins at birth.
When I read this passage, I was struck by the juxtaposition of the words “wonderful,” “sane,” “difficult,” and “true.” I seldom see these concepts associated in such close proximity, but on consideration, they are practically interdependent.
Whether or not you are a parent, you are almost certainly called to one or more roles that could be described by all four of these adjectives. With that realization, I wish you a day of wonderful sanity; of difficult truths that bless your life with the joys, laughter and sober understanding that go with having a child in the house.