Deserving Has a Little Bit to Do With It (But Not the Way You Think)

Worse things have happened to better men. There’s a little chestnut I’ve told myself all my adult life.

Goals Status:

  • Marathon: On Track. My son and I ran a little over four miles this morning. Turns out taking last week off didn’t kill me.
  • Two Square Yards of Earth: Behind Schedule. I met with my writers group for the first time in about two years last night, largely because I finally had something to read.
  • 100 Posts: On Track. This is my 19th post for the year. I’ll post 20 by the end of the week.

Turns out the chestnut is true, strictly speaking. There have been plenty of men better than I, and many of them have had to endure hardships that would leave me crying in the dust.

But just because it’s true doesn’t mean it’s relevant. Just because others have endured worse doesn’t mean they deserved it, and it doesn’t mean I deserve it.

It also doesn’t mean I deserve to become a household name. It doesn’t mean I deserve to have thousands of people around the world interested in what I have to say, even excited because my words have helped them.

The things that happen to me, the things I have no control over, have no bearing on what I do or do not deserve.

The things I merely endure have very little bearing on what I do or do not deserve–except insofar as they prepare me to seek the best me I can be.

I deserve what I work for. I deserve the longer life I prepare myself for when I get out and run in the morning.

I deserve the better marriage I lay the foundations for when I make the effort to spend time connecting with my wife.

I deserve a better job when I show up and bust my butt every day doing this one to the best of my ability.

I deserve more money when I learn to live within my means and take care of the money I have.

And when I get up and write every morning, when I give up sleep or time with my family or both, when I make writing a priority when people approve and when they don’t, when I let the work be its own reward–when I do that, I’ll deserve whatever success I manage to achieve.

It doesn’t mean I’ll have it. But I will deserve it.

And so will you, if you have the courage to work for it.

I've been a soldier, a dreamer, a working stiff, a leader. A husband, father, example (good and otherwise), and now a survivor. I write about courage, because courage is what enables us to accomplish the impossible. If you draw breath, I love you. If you love in whatever way seems best to you and want others to love in whatever way seems best to them, I am your ally. If you believe someone is less than you because they do not love the way you do, I oppose you. If you see someone as a threat to be abused or destroyed merely because they do not look like you, or love like you, or worship like you, I am your enemy. I am a joyful and courageous man. And I stand with you who love.