In My Grandfather’s Blessings Rachel Remen relays the story of Jacob’s wrestling with an angel (or God, or a man, or Jesus – there is a good deal of Biblical debate on this). Genesis 32:22-32 Recall that the wrestling occurred through the night, and in the morning, apparently at an impasse, Jacob’s opponent said “Let me go, for it is daybreak” to which Jacob replied “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” Jacob got his blessing and the opponent was set free.
Remen’s underlying theme in her analysis on this is that “everything has its blessing.” That is, of course, a tough pill to swallow. Some uninvited, undesirable things happen in life that are, in varying degrees, bad, awful, terrible, atrocious, even unspeakable. When those things happen my inclination, seemingly a natural one, is to want leave them as quickly as possible, to put as much distance between me and bad as I can. Jacob took the other course. Given the opportunity to let go, he did not, would not, and insisted on getting his blessing from his opponent this undesired wrestling match in which his hip was injured. It is on this point that Remen delivers her punchline:
“How tempting to let the enemy go and flee. To put the struggle behind you as quickly as possible and get on with your life. Life might be easier then but far less genuine. Perhaps the wisdom lies in engaging the life you have been given as fully and courageously as possible and not letting go until you find the unknown blessing that is in everything.”
That – “perhaps the wisdom lies in engaging the live you have been given as fully and courageously as possible and not letting go until you find the unknown blessing that is in everything” – that is going to take some thought, and might just be a wrestling match in and of itself. That is, an “easier” life, even if “far less genuine” is awfully tempting.