This oil painting by L. Maynard Dixon (which hangs in the Booth Western Museum) reminded me that life is not always what we expect. These mountain men are moving cattle near a Butte and chances are it will get harder before it gets easier. They will have to face hard times, little water, weather, dust storms, heat, dehydration and more before they arrive at their destination. They keep going because it is their job, it is what they do and who they are.
Sometimes life gets messier or harder before it gets easier. And all too often it seems to get worse before it gets better. No one likes the hard times, the tough times, the mess, but we need to work through all of that to get to the other side. We need to experience these not so pleasant times to learn and appreciate the victory. It is as if life is reminding us that the hard and tough times make the peace and beautiful times worth while; they provide more meaning to the goal. And when we reach the end and look back on our journey the tough times were worth it all.
Today or tomorrow may be one of your tough days, tiring days, harder days. The days ahead may be the mess before the shine, the sad before the happy. Remember that like these mountain men the cattle will get to the ranch and your work will get done. You will be better for the hard work and it makes the end of the ride that much more meaningful. So take a deep breathe and keep going. You can do it!