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Revelations: Suffer to achieve

By Jennifer Lee Preyss
May 16, 2014 at 12:16 a.m.


I've always had an odd relationship with the military - an odd fascination, perhaps.

Since graduating college, I've considered entering the military: U.S. Air Force, Navy and, at one point, the U.S. Coast Guard.

The latter followed a deciduous enthrallment with "The Guardian" and a lingering infatuation I've had for years with Kevin Costner.

But if asked, when asked, if I planned to join the military, I'd always submit to the reality that I just didn't think I'd make a good soldier.

That's why, perhaps, I hold such high respect for our military men and women.

They accomplished the thing I always knew I couldn't. At least not well.

So when former Navy SEAL Bill Wagasy and revered SEAL counterpart Marcus Luttrell (of "Lone Survivor" fame) were in town last Saturday - speaking to group of high school students about leadership - I stood at attention and listened up.

Well, I stood attentively, anyway.

Any military service member lending their time to inspire and encourage will always have my full attention.

But I guess because I know how difficult it is to be accepted into the Navy BUD/S (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL) training and that only a small fraction actually finish, I was ready to absorb any life tips from the former SEALs.

While giving one of his talks to the kids, Wagasy uttered this great line, "Anything great you do in life, you have to suffer to achieve."

At first, I didn't agree. I thought about it, and thought about it again, and realized he was right.

Achievement, advancing in career, health, discipline, success, leadership, respect, relationships, service, family, any worthwhile change - all of these require discomfort.

They all, at some point, will require a tinge of suffering.

Maybe even more than a tinge. Maybe it will require a full-on, crucifixion-style suffering and death to self and habit to grasp the dream and pull it into reality.

When I heard these words, I asked myself how I feel I've suffered or sacrificed to achieve.

In some areas, I absolutely have, I considered.

In other areas, though, I've avoided suffering to achieve because I didn't want to discipline myself. It was too hard.

I never want to catch myself in a similar realization again.

I plan to achieve always. So I, too, must plan to suffer.

I may not make a good soldier. But I'll always make a good fighter.

Jennifer Preyss is the faith editor for the Victoria Advocate. You can reach her at 361-580-6535 or on Twitter @jenniferpreyss.

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