n US informal
1. (modifier) (of a place) difficult to make a living in; barren
great effort made in the face of difficulties
I don’t know if you have heard the expression “hardscrabble” before, so I posted one definition of it. As I sat in silence this morning, this is the essay that arose and said “Write me.” I am offering you essays grown on hardscrabble ground. The words fall onto a soil that is barren. What does manage to poke up through the ground is the truth of life. It is persistent and when you try to uproot it, you find that it is not so easy to do. The Word takes root in barren places. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of the death.” That kind of place.
Bob said to me, “Find your passion before I die.” The linoleum of a hospital is hardscrabble ground. IV stands, rubber-soled nursing shoes, gurney wheels—none of them conducive to growing good crops. He must have known that I had a future as a writer. Not one that would appear in public or be visible, but one that would take root in hardscrabble and thrive.
You have your own hardscrabble ground. What are you doing with it? Your own losses and heartaches, your very real fear of death, your panic over being able to “be strong enough.” I certainly had that one. “My strength is made perfect in weakness.” My weakness was so overpowering that God took root in my words. I can say with certainty that my essays are medicinal for some of you. God has shown me when to poke you and say “Stand up straighter” and when to pat you and say “There, there.” For that is how I write. This delicate southern belle with a spine of steel will not give up. If I did, the hardscrabble would have won. And we don’t want that.