“It is better to limp along on the way than to walk with strength off the way.”
Augustine of Hippo
I meet couples and parents who are struggling with discouragement. It is hard to discern how to face the various challenges of marriage and home life. Especially in our confused and confusing age.
Augustine’s perspective, I think, is what we need. Most important is to be on the way, on which we might be limping. If we are aiming toward the right end then we are ‘on the way’—even if we falter, swerve, or fall.
I am not saying a ‘good intention’ is all that is needed. I am saying a truly good intention is born out in being ‘intentional’—that is, in a habitual life approach of asking two simple questions: ‘where are we going’ and ‘how do we get there.’ What is necessary is to begin with the end and consistently refocus in view of it. This is in our power. This actually is the way: the way of human life.
In other words, I’m suggesting that the difficulty and even uncertainty in discerning the details of the way is part of the way. It is part of what forges the character and relationships that our life is about.
A husband and wife, for instance, can with conviction know and choose this much as their goal: to make a good life together, giving ourselves to one another, and then to our children and others in the community. Growing in virtue—that is in true human goodness—and cultivating it in others will always be our priority. Period. We will judge all that we do, with special focus on what we do in our home together, in view of this goal.
And so we set forth. And sometimes we falter, swerve, or fall. Some around us are striding with confidence, and success, where they should not have striven. But to limp along on the way is better than to walk with success off the way. Indeed, limping is a natural call to lean on others, and to help others; it draws us to them, and them to us.
In the end the fulness of life will not be in limping. But as life is always an organic process, that we limp along the way need be no cause for discouragement. We can be grateful simply for the privilege to be on the way at all—on the way to what exceeds our imagination or understanding.
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This week’s SHORT VIDEO: Who should get up with baby at night…
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Husband, father, and professor of Philosophy. LifeCraft springs from one conviction: there is an ancient wisdom about how to live the good life in our homes, with our families; and it is worth our time to hearken to it. Let’s rediscover it together. Learn more.