Bri Colorful

Tennis Shoes and Trials

Posted on: March 18, 2010

“The needy traveler, secure and gay,
Walks the wild heath, and sings his toil away.
Does envy seize thee? crush th’upbraiding joy,
Increase his riches and his peace destroy.”
– from
The Vanity of Human Wishes, Samuel Johnson

When people tell you, “Be careful what you wish for,” what they’re really saying is that envy is just wishing for someone else’s trials instead of your own. Often we only see the good in other’s lives and the difficult in our own.  If you were to take a walk in their shoes though, you would realize the unique trials associated with their blessings and you might wish to be right back where you started: in your own comfortably worn-out tennis shoes, instead of those sparkling, yet difficult-to-manage high-heels.

I read an article recently that suggested that we befriend our trials and make them our own.  The article suggested that we not just “hang in there.” That’s enduring, but it’s not enduring well and enduring well brings joy. Sometimes life is less like a roller coaster with highs and lows and more like white water rafting; the current remains swift and though some areas are a little less bumpy, the whole ride is going to be rough so hang on and learn to enjoy.

These thoughts intrigued me. How could I own my trials? What could I do to better endure them? So I pose the question to you. What strategies have you used to “endure well” the trials that are yours?

8 Responses to "Tennis Shoes and Trials"

The lesson you talk is part of our maturation process to be sure. I believe that often those who are admired or envied for their “charmed” or “blessed” lives, are actually those who have “made friends” of their trials. They don’t fight them or wear them on their sleeve, but have integrated and internalized what can be learned from the experience. Their character thereby–as well as their opportunities and accomplishments–become the greater, the more solid, the more beautiful for it.

That is very beautifully put. Thank you. I like that you say those who look like they lead a charmed life don’t “wear their trials on their sleeve”. I have a murmuring problem sometimes but I love Elder Jeffery R. Holland’s maxim: “no misfortune is so bad that whining about it won’t make it worse.”

I think it goes along with the principle that serving other people makes our own problems disappear. I think a it a wonderful tactic to combat suffering to loose yourself (stop thinking about your own problems) in the service of others.

We feel pain more intensely when we’re sad. We must fill ourselves with hope and trust that everything will be ok, roll up our sleeves, and serve other people and suddenly oru own pain will be gone.

I think Mona makes a great point. I’ve heard several people described as having a “charmed life” when I know something about their trials which are “just as bad” as the next person. But I think she describes them perfectly! What a beautiful thought.

It is beautiful isn’t it?! Amazing how thoughts can be beautiful. Here we are talking about trials, hardships, things that can be very ugly. And yet the befriending of them is a beautiful experience. How ironic.

Thank you Sara Lyn! 🙂

I like your question Bri. How can we own our trials? I love what Elder Maxwell speaks of often, ‘willingly submitting’. It is part of the ‘big picture’. For various reasons, we often seek to control the outcome of our situations. I very much agree with the above statements. Perhaps those whom we admire have made themselves friends with their trials because they have been better friends with the Trial Giver. “Come what may and Love it…Sunday will come!”

Thank you for this thoughtful comment! Willingly submitting. It’s so contrary to popular thought today. We often feel we are entitled to happiness, to comfort, to ease. We want to be in control of our own lives and destiny. We like things to be immediate. While I fully support the advances in technology and the blessings that come with toasters, microwaves, iPhones, and elearning, I think we’re missing a little of what we might’ve learned if our hardships were increased.

I once attended a lecture on gardening, hoping it could increase the greeness of my rather pale thumb. The lecturer said that they had their young children help in the garden. One year a storm came through and destroyed their entire crop. As father and son surveyed the wreckage, the young boy looked up with tear-laden eyes at his thoughtful father. “What now?” he seemed to ask. His father taught that boy a wonderful lesson by picking up his worn-out tools and getting to work cleaning up the mess that was left. They started over.

Then I consider myself who practically has a melt-down when her email won’t send in 30 seconds. I believe we will have to work extra hard in this day and age to develop the wise patience and acceptance of the Lord’s time; to “willingly submit” to whatever trials come our way and stoop with worn-out tools to begin again.

“To endure well…”
Well, You know what they say-‘keep your friends close and your enemies closer’ 😉
I’ve often had people I considered a trial in my life that I chose to keep close and get to know-they become my closest friends.
It’s the same with experiences. Ex: I hated so much of what we endured on dance team in HS-yet I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything because of how I came out of it. I learned who I was and what I was-and wasn’t-willing to do. I learned where my heart truly was and the diffences between passion and obsession, need and desire, and what is truly good for the soul. Of course-one might say I also came out of it with a sort of dogged obstinacy and a much stronger need to express myself. And that I don’t cave to authority very easily any more.

I don’t think anyone loves a trial they are going through at the time they are going through it. But the friends of trials and the masters at life are the ones who learn to love life and see the good and strength in themselves that past trials have built up and have the faith to trust that these ones will do them good as well. Unfortunately that’s never, ever easy. “Even if the very jaws of hell” and all that good stuff 😉

Oh so it’s dance team to blame! 🙂 ha ha.

You’re very good at the whole loving life thing, my dear. It is a trial for me to be apart from your beautiful spirit! I love you!

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