I realized something, and the more I think about it, the more I agree with myself. While this makes for a really funny internal dialogue, ("I think that blah blah blah." "Wow! I totally agree with that. In my opinion, blah blah blah." "Hey, didn't I just say that?") my point still stands.
In observing Lent this year, I think God taught me something without me having any idea that He was teaching me it while it was happening: Without exception, everything about life has parts of it that are really, really hard.
It sounds cynical when I say it, but it really does have great value, especially because my real point is this--
I can still love life and love my Savior to an unfathomable degree no matter what. Everything in life has some level of drudgery and unpleasantness, but if I know that to begin with, I can avoid unrealistic expectations that will keep me from appreciating the good and joy that is in all things as well.
By always waiting for the perfectly wonderful thing around the bend, I not only neglect the good that I have now (thereby seeing only the annoying, difficult parts) but I also set myself up to be disappointed when I find the "perfectly wonderful thing" inevitably has some painful things about it. If I can reshape those expectations, though, I can be better prepared to find the good, deal with the bad, and seek God in both aspects, now and in the future.
In a nutshell, through Lent 08, God showed me that life is just plain difficult.
...But only parts of it. Mostly, if I can learn to look for it, it is blessed and beautiful.