In Life, There Are Trials

I think everyone can agree that life isn’t easy; there are plenty of stumbles, falls and detours.  There are dead-ends and miscalculations, and there is plenty of pain and heartache along the way.  If you can’t relate to any of this because you’ve only experienced joy and success, please leave a comment with details of your charmed life.  Really, I want to know.

I will remind myself that life isn’t fair, and I will do my best to not dislike you for the injustice that is no fault of your own.  In fact, I’ll likely say a prayer for you because with all that smooth sailing, navigating the inevitable choppy waters might be more than you know how to handle.

But you should know this:  life is like the ‘friend’ in high school who buddies up to you until you’re done helping with her science project.  In other words, just because it’s nice to you, doesn’t mean that life is your friend…life will knock you off your feet when you least expect it.  Consider yourself warned 😉

All joking aside, life’s trials are necessary.  Without them, how would we ever learn to appreciate the goodness we have?  How would we know that when life brings us to our knees, we can get up and limpstand again?

For me, it is the emotional moments in life that make me take notice.

Moment #1

Over the Christmas holiday, my family was blessed with not one, but two phone calls from my cousin in Afghanistan.  It’s amazing how a distance of half a world away became a two-second voice transmission delay – for a short time it felt like he was with us.  Crowded around a cell phone put on speaker, we talked about Easy Cheese (apparently sought after by troops for its shelf life,) tube socks (he asked for no more,) and Kevlar underwear (you don’t want to know.)

He also told us his assignment might be changing, and not to worry because he might be out of contact for several months.  We all knew what this meant, and of course, we will worry.  Predictably, his parents had questions, all of which he deflected with vague answers (just as he was trained).

We cherished these calls more, because we knew they might not come again for a long time.  We didn’t speak a word of our worries, the dangers, or the possible outcomes because doing so wouldn’t have helped ease any anxiety.  Instead we do what we can, which is pray for his safety, and value our freedom that our troops defend.  (I may have my doubts about our presence in the Middle East, but I don’t doubt the bravery and sacrifices of the men and women who enlist in the military.)

Moment #2

I’ve been known to cry after watching commercials, animated films (Up and Toy Story 3), and while reading anything pertaining to death or loss.  So yeah, I’m a bit of an emotional crier.  This past week, a set of videos, which I first encountered on Yahoo News, got me again.

The Ben Breedlove ‘My Story’ videos were posted on December 18th and have been widely publicized since the teen’s death on Christmas day, so you may have already watched them.  If you haven’t, I’ve included the You Tube links below and encourage you to view both Part One and Part Two.  I watched them again when I got the links for this post and I still needed tissues.

Part One –

Part Two –

Ben’s story got to me for several reasons:

    1. It’s always sad to me when such a young person dies.
    2. Even though trials are meant to make us stronger, and life isn’t fair, it just doesn’t seem right for children to have to battle illnesses.
    3. My children have not had chronic health issues – they are healthy and I am ever thankful for that.  I pray God nudges me to remember this in the moments I get frustrated with them.
    4. It reminds me that God has a plan for all of us.  I don’t need to understand “Why?” I just need to trust his answer: “Because.”

Ecclesiastes 3:1-4:  “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:  a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance…”

Your turn – tell me about your trial-free life, your troubled life, or whether you prefer Brussels sprouts or turnip greens.  What did you think of the Ben Breedlove videos?  Whatever you want to ‘say’ – the Comment box is all yours 🙂

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18 thoughts on “In Life, There Are Trials

  1. suzicate January 1, 2012 / 8:37 AM

    The Ecc. verse kinda’ puts life in a nutshell. I am very emotional, so no words of wisdom. We must live life as it happens…I do have trials like most people, but regardless I know I am blessed – life is a blessing.

    • jannatwrites January 1, 2012 / 9:37 PM

      I love that verse. I read the entire chapter several times, but it was too long to include in my post. You’re right, SuziCate – life is a blessing…it’s good to remember that 🙂

  2. Debbie January 1, 2012 / 12:17 PM

    Good wishes going out for your cousin’s safety, Janna! I feel sorry for anyone who has a trouble-free life; when trouble finally rears its ugly head (as it’s eventually bound to), they’re going to be that much less prepared to deal with it! While 2011 hasn’t had a lot of high moments for me, it hasn’t been filled with misery either. It is what it is. Regardless, I know I’m very blessed, and I pray 2012 will be a good one for you! I’m glad our paths crossed in the blogging universe!

    • jannatwrites January 1, 2012 / 9:42 PM

      “It is what it is”…that’s an interesting summation of 2011, Debbie! I have a friend who has had a particularly rotten 2011, but she has managed to keep her chin up (and is so ready for 2012 because it has to be better 🙂

      I hope 2012 is a good year for you, too. May your writings be abundant!

      I’m glad our paths crossed, too. I have sure enjoyed your blog and the interactions here, too. Looking forward to what 2012 has in store 🙂

  3. Carl D'Agostino January 1, 2012 / 12:50 PM

    You can rest assured that my prayers are with your cousin as they are with all of them over there. You just cannot imagine how infuriated I am about the whole thing. I could write pages on how they are being sacrificed for the aggrandizement of economic interests but this is your blog.

    • jannatwrites January 1, 2012 / 9:47 PM

      Your prayers are appreciated, Carl. We expect him home this Spring. I actually do have an idea of your opinions of the war because of posts you have done 🙂 I’ll reserve my full opinion because I prefer to stay away from political discussions!

  4. nrhatch January 1, 2012 / 6:48 PM

    Glad you had a chance to chat with your cousin on Christmas, Janna.

    Life is full of trials and tribulations. Some handle everything dished out with panache and finesse. Others . . . not so much.

    What doesn’t kill us may make us stronger.

    Happy NOW Year.

    • jannatwrites January 1, 2012 / 9:50 PM

      Thanks, Nancy! It was nice to hear his voice. You’re right – people do handle challenges differently. I’d like to think that I navigate them better as I get older 🙂

      “Happy NOW Year” – I like that a lot!

  5. jeanne January 1, 2012 / 9:49 PM

    I have not been able to bring myself to watch Ben’s videos…I did not want to cry during the holidays and I know I will cry. I want to watch them and then again I don’t want to watch them. It is all very sad.

    • jannatwrites January 1, 2012 / 10:53 PM

      The videos are touching. He wasn’t afraid of death at all, and in fact, didn’t want to leave the light. In that sense, it is comforting because this time, he didn’t have to leave. If you look at it this way, maybe you can watch them without getting too down.

      Thanks for your comment, Jeanne.

  6. philosophermouseofthehedge January 2, 2012 / 2:21 PM

    Great post. Glad your cousin was able to call. (will remember in our prayers here too).
    Two things help: He knows when a sparrow falls, and He never asks more than we can give (although we sometimes want to cry, enough already, I’m not that strong). Just do our best – and keep going. …and you comments under the mountain pictures pretty well say it all. Peace in the new year.

    • jannatwrites January 2, 2012 / 6:52 PM

      Thanks, Philospher Mouse! We were thankful to get the phone calls. You are right that God gives us what we can handle. With His support we can make it through.

      I hope your New Year is off to a good start!

  7. pattyabr January 2, 2012 / 10:44 PM

    I also would like to read the book Heaven is for real, similar story about a young person having cheated death.

    It was touching and inspiring for me to watch the Ben Breedlove video. WOW.

    At church this past weekend the priest told us that when we wish people Happy New Year were are sending them a blessing. Great huh? so Happy New Year Janna. Hope and blessings for the new year.

    • jannatwrites January 3, 2012 / 7:36 PM

      I just checked out Heaven is for Real on Amazon, and it does sound like an interesting read. I added it to my wish list so I can come back to it – thanks for mentioning it, Patty!

      I’m glad I’m not the only one affected by Ben’s videos. To have multiple experiences like that is amazing.

      Thanks for the New Year blessing…Happy New Year to you, too 🙂

  8. Jackie Paulson January 3, 2012 / 1:25 AM

    God bless all who Serve our country! I pray for safety for all and that they all come home healthy and well. I have emotional days a lot lately as I cannot find a job and I cry. I cry at homelessness of animals and people and of course your video brought me to tears. So they say our life purpose is in those things that “get a rise out of us” emotionally, but I never found mine yet at age 45. I am a Christian and someone who reads my bible daily for uplifting, as my depression is being addressed. I try never to show that “side” of me. It’s so sad that even when I am down I “force” myself to be happy put on a smile, and continue to blog happily when I really want to rant and rant about what drives me nutty. But no one will want to read that type of blog rant so I just don’t do it. I do think it is healthy to cry and to expression emotions b/c for years I did not do it and I was raised Not to show emotions. I personally think that it can form cancers in people if they don’t show emotions…I have seen it happen, sadly but true. “Be happy in the Now Year of 2012”! ♥ Jackie ♥

    • jannatwrites January 3, 2012 / 7:44 PM

      Sometimes there is so much sadness all around that we can’t help but cry. I think expressing sadness is healthy, too. There is nothing wrong with getting something off our chest, but the problem comes when unloading that burden doesn’t make us any lighter. For me, I’ve found that when I complain about something, I tend to hang onto it longer instead of moving on, which was my original reason for complaining. Everyone is different, though.

      I’m sorry you aren’t able to find a job, but I do hope things turn around in 2012. Happy New Year to you, Jackie!

  9. pattisj January 3, 2012 / 10:22 PM

    Thanks for sharing Ben’s videos, I’m sure many lives have been impacted by them. Glad you got to talk to your cousin. May they all return safely to their loved ones.

    • jannatwrites January 5, 2012 / 7:30 AM

      Thanks for the thoughts about my cousin, Patti. I hope they all return home safely to their families, too 🙂

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