Dear Hardship,

Do you remember when you made it hard to walk? You taught me that not all pain comes from voluntary actions, yet I can find the strength in me to walk while in the company of pain.

Do you remember when you wouldn't let me sleep? So I could learn that the floor can be just as good a place to sleep as any bed, that pain can be pacified with meditation.

You're an eager teacher, looking for worthy students without discrimination, you embrace whomever finds you or stumbles unto you. In your eyes we're all equal and I love you for it.

Whenever I come knocking at your door, you open it for me, always ready to teach me a lesson, to remind me of my limits and how to surpass them, to remind me that everything I need to surpass my limits is within me.

You make every success that much sweeter, for nothing great is ever achieved without you, and knowing that only very few embrace you as part of themselves makes success all that much more unique.

If it weren't for you, I would not be able to climb high, for you are the mountain upon which I climb. If it weren't for you, I would not be able to learn, for you are the lesson from which I learn.

The memory of our experiences together makes surpassed challenges that much sweeter and new challenges that much more exciting. I know that I can trust you to be there every time and that after it is all over I'll be better for it.

Thank you for helping me become who I am, for you're the anvil on which character is forged.

I look forward to our future encounters.

Sincerely, Marcel Valdez

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