Arduous

dictionary with letter A

Arduous: (adj) involving or requiring strenuous effort.

Are you ready?

I’m gonna pitch you a movie idea.

Fade in:

Man wakes up in the morning, discovers he doesn’t have a razor to shave his beard. Rather than complain to his wife or go out into the world unshorn, he gingerly reaches into the shower, removing his wife’s Lady Bic, peering around the room cautiously to make sure he’s not observed.

He slathers his face with shaving cream and carefully runs the precious object across his face, freeing himself of jungle fuzz. He rinses the borrowed object with great intensity, placing it back into the shower, smiling into the mirror as he splashes his face with his favorite cologne, turning and heading out the door with a smile.

What do you think? Are you ready to invest?

Of course not.

No one would make this movie, because it is a tale of a human being finding a way to work things out without becoming exasperated, frenzied or completely debilitated by circumstance.

Somewhere along the line we’ve convinced ourselves that if our lives are not filled with arduous tasks, then we’re really not grown-up and we haven’t proven our mettle. With that desire to appear mature, we’ve taken things that should be simple and made them as painful as possible, whether politics, business, family life or religion. The more hot coals we can walk over, the more we are convinced of achievement.

If there is a line being formed by those who are looking for less arduous ways to approach life, I would like to get into it.

I’m never proud of myself when I become exasperated. I don’t feel manly swearing at traffic or frustrated because my hammer decided to hit my thumb instead of the nail. Cursing doesn’t strike me as a sign of strength, but rather, evidence of the little child that failed to die sometime after puberty.

There may be arduous tasks. Most of them are not what we perceive them to be.

The greatest gift you can give to yourself, or anyone else, is having a mechanism in your soul which sucks up problems that seem insurmountable … and spits out simplicity.

 

 

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Archer

dictionary with letter A

Archer: (n) a person who shoots with a bow and arrows, especially at a target for sport.

When I was growing up, the pursuit of sports in my home was very seasonal–not in the sense of baseball in the summer and football in the fall, but rather, attention span.

My father and brothers developed interests in activities, and always would find a “good deal” on equipment relating to this endeavor, which they would purchase, only to discover that the materials were inferior, which made it impossible to adequately perform the task.

  • We bought a canoe that leaked.
  • We had some water skis that were cracked and fell apart the first time someone got on them in the water.
  • We had a basketball hoop that was supposed to be easy to set up in your driveway which never got higher than four feet.

Likewise, while watching Robin Hood one day on the television set, my older brother wanted to purchase a bow and arrows. My father thought it was “a champion idea.”

So with no understanding whatsoever of archery, they set out to the local hardware store, where the proprietor sold them one of his old bows and six arrows for “a really good deal.”

Without exaggerating, I will tell you that it took them two weeks to learn how to string the bow. The amount of energy it took to bend the bow for stringing nearly crippled their comprehension. The power required to pull the bow back, to shoot the arrow even two feet, was also extraordinarily daunting.

But after a couple of months, they convinced themselves they were experts on the subject and took me out to the woods to try my hand at shooting at a target.

I hated it immediately.

It took too much energy to pull the string, and because the bow was bent from the numerous attempts to manipulate it to our will, the arrows flew crooked, more resembling boomerangs.

After about the sixth attempt, they were ready to have a competition, to see who could hit the target the most often.

My dad stood ten feet to the side, away from the target, so he could give instruction to my brother and myself to make the competition more interesting.

I pulled back the bow and was ready to shoot it when my dad piped up and said, “No, Jonathan! Use more of your thumb!”

Not understanding what he said, I turned towards him in order to be respectful to his instruction, and as I did I slipped and released the arrow, which flew through the air, knocking his hat off.

It was William Tell without the apple.

My dad never said anything about it, but we quickly packed up the gear and it was stored from that point on, in the garage … next to the half-water ski.

 

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