Our greatest fears are not pain, discomfort, or difficulty. What man and woman dread most is not the agony of torn flesh or broken bones. These will heal. What man and woman find intolerable above all else and dread before any other is the agony of a broken spirit and a lost soul. Losing their purpose in life to pointlessly wander, not dead but not fully alive. For to be fully alive requires a purpose, whether big or small, material or immaterial. It is this fear that is realized when one is born to the lap of luxury, when one is handed privilege at any point in life; when the human purpose, the noble pursuit, of striving for existence is stripped away by cold hands in the form of a shiny gift. Man and woman find their meaning in the righteous struggle to define and distinguish themselves, to scrape and claw to bring about a better existence for themselves and those around them.
Wounds to the flesh will harden into scars; not so the wounds of the psyche. The worst physical pain can be brushed off, even relished if the result is found worthy. Whether the pain of labor or the pain of battle. Whether the pain of chemotherapy or healing after surgery. Whether the pain of withdrawal or the pain of rebuilding. These will pass, subservient to the higher objective of wholeness. We are resilient, able to endure anything for the right cause. However the anguish comes when we lose the cause, when we forget that for which we are fighting. When we lose our mark, the compass directing us north, every movement, becomes agony. The slightest struggle becomes insurmountable, and we flounder at the first sign of difficulty. We all define for ourselves our own epic, the overarching narrative and adventure of our lives. Within these epics are individual journeys, partitioned travels, struggles of every shape and form. And within the context of the epic, all of these meld to become joyous and surmountable tribulations. Thus the struggle of men and women, then, is not the struggles themselves but to find their epic and keep a keen eye upon it always.