Wednesday, March 4, 2009

For a limited mortal time only - personalized trials fit to your very special life

I had an epiphany about trials the other day because of a couple of things in my life, enumerated below:

1. I'm listening to a book on CD called The Boleyn Inheritance which talks about the period just after Queen Anne Boleyn is sent to the block. It talks of Anne of Cleaves becoming queen and Katherine Howard then catching the eye of the king and eventually marrying him, after Anne of Cleaves is pretty much divorced from the king. Katherine Howard is a ridiculous flirt and part of the book is her narration, which makes me laugh. She is the most vain person I've ever read of or even heard of - she's forever saying, "I'm the prettiest girl at court," even when she's just a maid-in-waiting. She even moans a bit about how it's hard to be the prettiest girl in court - and how she wants to be good, but it's hard when she attracts so much male attention.

Eventually, she gets sent to the chopping block for adultery. Whoops. I had a thought while I was listening to her go on and on: "I'm glad I don't have to worry about vanity - I don't have a problem with it, really."

2. I was talking with someone about her friend who has guy troubles. Now, her troubles are different from the normal girl's guy troubles - she has a hard time deciding what she wants because she's always been pretty and popular. When she starts getting serious with a guy, she thinks about how many other guys want to date her, and usually ends up breaking up with the guy she's dating to date someone else. If there's the slightest bump in the relationship, she starts thinking that it can't work out. Now, she's never learned that this is not the way to act in a relationship because there are always plenty of guys to take her ex-boyfriend's place.

I was thinking, "I don't have a problem with sorting out guys and not wanting to make relationships work - when one comes along, I almost have the opposite problem."

3. I was watching a CSI that had show girls on it, and the owner of the establishment was talking about how one of his ladies was getting old - she was 27.

Bottom line: Everyone has their own trials, and some people have the trial of being beautiful and popular. I've never really thought about how it would be hard to be beautiful and popular - but I guess you would have more temptation with the opposite sex, and sometimes you wouldn't know who your real friends were. I'd have a hard time not basing my self esteem on my good looks and people liking me, which could all go away with old age, or even a tragic accident that left me horribly disfigured.

Maybe THAT'S why the Phantom of the Opera turns out like he does! He was a male model, and then...

I guess we all have our own trials. I was reading in 1st Nephi, and I realized that everyone in Nephi's family has their own personal trials, along with generally being in the wilderness and such. Sariah has to deal with her sons not being with her, while they go into Jerusalem to get the plates from a man who's not known as the nicest guy. She's already sacrificed to go to the wilderness, and part of her thoughts were probably that at least she'd be able to be with her family. Lehi has to deal with his son being more humble than him, at a time when hunger had its own voice, and the Lord speaking directly to his son instead of him. Sam and Joseph have to watch their brother Nephi being beaten up by Laman and Lemuel time and again.

I don't think the Lord gives us more than we can handle on this earth, but I do think sometimes He puts us in the situations that are the hardest for us. I can remember thinking a few times, "I'd almost rather have any other trial but this one" and wishing to trade lives with someone - but everyone has their own cross to bear.

This reminds me of one of my fav quotes that I can't find for the life of me. It goes something like this: "If you were to assume everyone was in the middle of a huge trial, and would treat them with kindness as such, 90% of the time you would be right."


Jessica :) said...

What a great post, Amy! I really like that you point out how we are never given a trial that we can't handle but that doesn't mean it will be easy - in fact it will probably be the hardest one to have (for us personally). You are amazing and I really appreciated this post! :) BTW - I was really glad to see you last week!

Katie said...

How completely true you are, Amy. I love it and find it so interesting to think sometimes about other people's trials and how I would deal with them. I have noticed lately too, that even though, you and someone else may be having a similar trial it's not the same in the least little bit. For example: right now I have no babies and want them. I have never had a miscarriage or anything. We just can't conceive. My sister in law also doesn't have babies, but she's miscarried and can conceive, just can't keep the baby long enough to cook. Then I have a friend who has one child and wants another, but can't get pregnant. On the surface, you'd think the three of us have the same trail-No babies-but its amazing how totally different it is for all of us. And we deal with it differently. I talk about it to everyone I meet (probably not always good) my sister in law won't talk about it at all (probably not always good), but for each of us, it works. It has come to help me understand that we never do know what people are going through and it's best not to judge. Sorry, this ended up being long, but I love your posts and love that more often than not, they get me thinking. Thanks!

Brooke said...

Good post. The quote you're looking for is from Elder Eyring, and paraphrasing it says if you treat someone as if they're in a big trial, you'll be right 50% of the time. (Not quote 90%, but still half of the time.)

Mandi said...

Yup, it's Pres. Eyring: "When I was a young man, I served as counselor to a wise district president in the Church. He tried to teach me. One of the things I remember wondering about was this advice he gave: “When you meet someone, treat them as if they were in serious trouble, and you will be right more than half the time.”

I thought then that he was pessimistic. Now, more than 40 years later, I can see how well he understood the world and life. As time passes, the world grows more challenging, and our physical capacities slowly diminish with age. It is clear that we will need more than human strength. The Psalmist was right: “But the salvation of the righteous is of the Lord: he is their strength in the time of trouble.”

It's from April 2004 Conference; that talk is "In the Strength of the Lord".

Nice post!