“A gem cannot be polished without friction,nor a man perfected without trials”


 

Recent events in life have propelled me to reflect on life and its many lessons. Occasionally, there is a need to remind myself of how precious life is. The need to cherish loved ones. Reach across the divide. To mend hearts. Homes. Lives. Again, writing is therapeutic for me. I write about things I struggle with. General observations. Experiences. And one day when I am brave enough, my “gethsemanes” .Writing provides perspective. Tutors me. Reminds me of my limitations. The need for change. And everyday learning.

Today’s post is about trials. Yep. Problems. Affliction. Adversity. Burden. Stumbling blocks. Add your own soubriquet. Question: what would we do differently if we got a “do over”? Would we avoid some friendships? Relationships? Job choices? Lifestyle? You name it. I wonder. Don’t you? But there is no “do over” is there? Nope. Just one chance. You will never see today’s date again. Think about it. Recently, my face book status read: “Sometimes life will slap you in the face, well today it punched me”. Some days are worse than others. Tugged in different directions. Feel battered and torn. No one is immune. Or exempted. Sorry. However, how we manage the trials might be the most telling story of all. Read on. See if you agree. Or disagree.

Some trials are more arduous than others. They pierce the soul much deeper. Some come as a result of another person’s agency. Others we bring on ourselves. There is no explanation for the rest. Whatever the cause, we should never lose perspective. Even when they sap our strength. Bring us to our knees. Force us to examine our life. To grow. Ponder our choices. And the choices of others. Are we supposed to learn from them? Depends on the nature of the trial. If the trial is a result of our own imprudent behavior, it goes without saying. Wait a minute. This path looks vaguely familiar. Different circumstances. Yes. But same lesson. What do you know?

Here is an example using procrastination. My own personal struggle. Let’s say I have a paper due in a few weeks. Yet I decide to play hide and seek with the time. As it always does, father time comes calling. The paper is due. Without fail, everything goes wrong. Everything. And no one can help. Pleadings fall on deaf ears. Here is one trial I could have avoided. Right? So I barely made the deadline. Am I still procrastinating? YES! Did I learn my lesson? Yes. No. Maybe. But I should. Until the next crisis that is.The point is, if the trail results from our own shortcomings. If everything is coming coming at us. We are doing something wrong. Time for a reality self check. Perhaps, there is no need to learn the same lessons over and over again.

If we are not learning anything from our trials, it is rather distressing. Trials should remind us of our severely limited capacities as human beings. Show us that we don’t have all the answers. Never have. Never will. They should stretch us. Mold us. Shape us. Make us better than we think we are. Perhaps another person caused the suffering. Maybe we did all we could. But we were blindsided. Careless. Lost sight of the goal. Whatever the situation. No one is perfect. People will disappoint us. Cause us grief. Pain. Worry. Stress. Anger. Sadness. Simply put, our faith in humanity will be tested. Hopefully, through it all, something good resulted. We learned a lesson. Applied it to our lives. And our future. Some trials are actually blessings in disguise. Huh! We just don’t realize it atm.

Being required to go endure multiple trials is not a reason to be bitter. Resentful. Hardhearted. Mean-spirited. Distrustful. Instead see the future for what it is. The future. It has hope. Promise. A life of its own. New beginnings. A word of caution though. When we suffer because of someone else, it seems reasonable to have trust issues. It might be difficult to open up. Building barriers appear inevitable. Defense mechanisms become appealing. But we can cope. We will. We have to. Consider the alternative. There is someone else with even greater struggles. The quadriplegic. The man or woman born blind. Deaf. Mute. Mentally retarded. The homeless. A tiny fraction of the problems you could have. But you don’t. We are truly blessed.We have more than we need. We are alive.

As I battle personal demons. Struggle through my own “Gethsemanes”. I am comforted by the fact that I am never, ever alone. Many people hold a special place in their hearts just for me. First and foremost: “The most powerful being in the universe is the father of my spirit!” Elder Utchdorf. Family. Friends. The quiet, unassuming ones in my corner. Rallying around me to succeed. To give it my best. My trials are my own. If I could not handle them, someone else would have them. Apply these same words to you. I pray that when trials do come. And they will. You and I can find the peace we desperately seek. Whatever our trials are this moment. Remember that we can be uplifted. Supported. Comforted. To know that we can do it. We have to. Giving up is not an option. “May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human, and enough hope to make you happy”

Until the next post..
Best,
Juan

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