|Print | Back||June 25, 2013|
Goodness MattersDealing with Disappointment
by Vickey Pahnke Taylor
I once read a sentence that was intriguing to me. Since that time, many years ago, it has become more than intriguing; it has become, in addition to my faith, a lifeline.
This is it: “Life is like photography; we develop from the negatives.” I don’t know who to credit for this gem, but I’m grateful for it.
How many times have you been bruised, walloped, beat up or laid low by life? There are plenty of hard times. I suppose the issue for each of us is this: Will we see the hard times as good/bad? Will we fall prey to the darkness that may accompany the refining times? Or may we accept it as a time to stand up, to kneel down, and to reach out for learning and goodness?
This all sounds so dramatic and poetic. When the rough patches come, it doesn’t feel that way, though. At least — not very poetic.
But the principle of developing during what we perceive as negative times is spot-on, don’t you think?
Eliza Tabor shared this sentiment: “Disappointment to a noble soul is what cold water is to burning metal; it strengthens, tempers, intensifies, but never destroys it.”
I love it. Not, perhaps, the disappointment or the heartbreak or the cruel harshness of certain life events, but the idea that I may be tempered, strengthened, and made better. Never destroyed by those times. Nope!
Elder Neal A. Maxwell once taught that life cannot be both faith-filled and stress-free. Amen.
Then there is this wealth of wisdom in President Boyd K. Packer’s lesson:
Some are tested by poor health, some by a body that is deformed or homely. Others are tested by handsome and healthy bodies; some by the passion of youth; others by the erosions of age. Some suffer disappointment in marriage, family problems; others live in poverty and obscurity. Some (perhaps this is the hardest test) find ease and luxury. All are part of the test, and there is more equality in this testing than sometimes we suspect. (General Conference October 1980.)
His words give me pause to ponder. A lot. A test that is set up for us, individually. Life lessons that make us or break us. Pop quizzes that raise their heads from time to time, over the course of our lives, to keep us safely within the confines of faith and trust — as well as obedience to eternal principles.
Sometimes we fail those pop quizzes. That’s okay. In our school classes, when we occasionally bombed a math quiz, English essay, or history test, the entire GPA didn’t go down the tubes.
Certainly, in the life quizzes, our spiritual GPA isn’t reliant upon passing every single test or acing each course. No, it’s all about the keeping on — moving forward, asking forgiveness, taking an occasional time out when needed, and picking ourselves up for the next class, the next quiz, the next life lesson.
When the negatives come (and they do) we can look forward with a little more hope. If we blow it, well, we can pick up the pieces and do better next time.
When we are bitterly disappointed with ourselves, another, or a life circumstance, isn’t there a lesson to learn, somewhere in there? Isn’t there a choice to be made about how we will react and act? Is there an important gem to discover, or a personal mountain to climb?
Here’s another beautiful point, made by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland:
If for a while, the harder you try, the harder it gets, take heart. So it has been with the best people who ever lived. (Jeffrey R. Holland, “However Long and Hard the Road,” 1985)
The whole wonderful point is, “It ain’t over till it’s over.” When disappointments come and our personal environment is feeling pretty negative, there is a clear, solid, impressive picture that is bound to emerge. That’s a really good thing to know.
And goodness matters.
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