Friday, June 18, 2010

so it's pain offset by personal growth

Sunday the teacher fell through in RS. Dilemma, what to do now. The President suggested maybe having a testimony meeting. I asked her what the scheduled lesson was. The Life of Christ. Well, we ought to do something along that line then, I suggested. We went one step better and came up with having the girls share their favorite scripture about the Savior, telling why and then testifying. Turned out to be one of our best lessons ever. Reason being, of course, the power and beauty of the scriptures themselves and that, coupled with the focus on the Savior, kept the testimonies from being, well, too girls campy and random. Nearly every girl spoke of how the Savior had blessed her life, especially in times of adversity.

In fact, the running theme throughout the meeting had to do with trials and challenges and as I sat there listening I noticed a couple of things. 1) not making the cheer squad doesn’t really qualify as a trial, does it? And 2), I was a little amused as most of these girls seemed puzzled, shocked even, that life would be so difficult. The words used over and over ’been having a hard time lately’. They labeled a ‘hard time’ as ‘trials’ but really they seemed much more like challenges -- the ordinary day-in-day out kind. It got me thinking. Is it just the inexperience and immaturity of youth that causes us to be offended when life presents us with problems? What did they, and you and I, think when we signed on for mortality?

Reminds me of the quote: When I hear somebody sigh, “Life is hard,” I am always tempted to ask, “Compared to what?”
Sydney J. Harris

I can’t be too harsh on my young little sisters though, I remember well my own journaling as a young married. Pages and pages concerning my misfortunes and trials. Whew, did I whine. My wrong-headed notion that life should not be difficult but easy (and fair!) compounded the problem. It set me up for a lot of pity party years.

To be sure, some of these young gals in our RS have truly had life experiences that could qualify as Job worthy. And I’m not saying that lack of dates on a Saturday night isn’t painful. Those resultant feelings are legitimate. What I am saying, I guess, is that in another 30 years or so they may sigh and rip out journal pages over what they thought then to be so devastating. Because depend upon it, problems, challenges, trials—they only increase in intensity over time (the rip your heart out kind) and they are pretty much constant. That’s how it works. That’s how it’s supposed to work.

A little clarity then by M. Scott Peck*:

Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult---once we truly understand and accept it—then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.

Peck goes on to say in his remarkable book:
What makes life difficult is that the process of confronting and solving these problems is a painful one.

His contention is that problem solving = painful, yes, but it is in fact how we derive meaning in our lives. Sound familiar anyone? The gospel teaches that it is in the process of solving problems and facing adversity that we find our courage and wisdom and in so doing grow emotionally and spiritually. We knew that in theory before we came to this life. The actual living it, well, that's a different story.

It is kind of a milestone when we no longer demand a problem free life of ease and get over our na├»ve “how dare life be so rude’ attitude.

Just so you know, I’m nowhere near close to this milestone. Not even. But I am closer than I was. Yeah for growing older.

*M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled. I've told you before-a great and insightful read.

1 comment:

lacy lee said...

Hold up. As a girl who once didn't make the cheer squad, I can tell you it IS a trial.

Of course, I now have a name for these sorts of "hard times." My sister Miley has appropriately coined them "luxury problems."

Thanks for the post!