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Nancy Mairs Essay Synthesis of Mairs Three Essays on the Argument for the Defense of a Life of Hardship and Suffering Nancy Mairs is a writer who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis when she was 28 years old.

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Nancy Mairs Essay Synthesis of Mairs' Three Essays on the Argument for the Defense of a Life of Hardship and Suffering Nancy Mairs is a writer who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis when she was 28 years old. Multiple Sclerosis is a condition of the central nervous system which controls the body's actions and movements and balance and in her case it was a degenerate version of the disease. After beginning to accept her disability, she discusses how the experience of her being a cripple has enlightened her to the somewhat oxymoronic benefits of living a life of pain. After reviewing the three essays from Nancy Mairs from her book Carnal Acts "Challenge: An Exploration", "Doing It the Hard Way" and "Good Enough Gifts", it is simple to see the main ideal that sieves through on these writings: that hardship is an unavoidable and essential part of every humans life but these hardships are invaluable experiences none the less. In Mairs' three essays she presents an impassioned defense of the life of hardship and suffering and I will be extracting some evidence from the essays to support her assertions. One of her arguments is the idea of spiritual growth through hardship and pain which is re-sated when she maintains that 'Disability provides ample opportunity for spiritual work and growth' (Mairs 104, Challenge: An Exploration). ...read more.


essay 'Good Enough Gifts' she starts by talking about how she does not need material possessions to be satisfied in life i.e. keeping the same old Volvo for many years even though she can afford a new one, 'I keep it because it says something, to me at least, about contentment' (Mairs 118). 'Because a difficult life is more complicated than an easy one, it offers opportunities for developing a greater range of response to experience: a true generosity of spirit. (Mairs 114, 'Doing It the Hard Way'). At the end of 'Doing it the Hard Way' she describes a moment of her sitting on the porch looking out at a view. Her ability to appreciate what is in front of her as appose to the negative side of things has lead her to her to be 'happier than ever before ( Mairs 116). "That's the joy of doing things the hard way" (Mairs 116). One argument for the defense of living the hard life is the newfound creative energy that is generated through the hardships in life. If it was not for her MS would she still have become the success that she is today? Mairs states that of course 'Ms is a very bad thing' but since there is nothing anyone can do to make it go away she talks about the positives that come from it (Mairs 121, Good Enough Gifts). ...read more.


Her daughter shuns the easy life available to her of 'big paychecks, condos and BMW's' (Mairs 109) so that she can get true satisfaction from doing something difficult. Mairs also shows in 'Good Enough Gifts' that her family as a whole show triumphs over adversity through her own life challenges. "Maybe it isn't so terrible to have to learn how to scrub cooked-on egg out of a skillet or when to stir sherry into a Newburg sauce or whether you ought to wash your jeans in hot water with your white crew socks" (130). Mairs' children have been able to learn from an early age how to do things for themselves which is an important aspect of growing up. Something they may not have been able to do had their mother been more physically able. Through her MS her family has bonded closer than most other families as they all have the common ground of having taking care of her. Mairs shows in these essays how experiencing hardships in life can lead to spiritual growth and learning many virtuous attributes like patience, tolerance, and gratitude. Although she acknowledges that her disease is not a pleasant thing to have she definitely appreciates what she has learnt through strife and how achieving successes over adversity is far more satisfactory then going through life with out facing any difficulties or suffering. People can choose how to respond to the "gift" of a difficult life (Mairs 110, 'Doing it the Hard Way'). ...read more.

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