Trials and Tribulations


I greeted Marlene in my travels the other day and we exchanged pleasantries. She commented on how she enjoyed reading one of my articles. I asked her which one and she replied with, ‘the one about overcoming the trials and tribulations’.

I giggled, as I was not sure which one in particular she was referring, because almost all of my articles are about trials and tribulations. I thanked her and we went on our merry way. Later that evening, I had to reflect as to why I write about trials and tribulations, the majority of the time.

The bottom line is that I like to make people feel better. I see so many people struggling with situations and issues that cause individuals to feel sad, stressed, frustrated, aggravated, hurt, disappointed, worried, angry or depressed. It is as if I am super sensitive to the emotional state of anyone in my vicinity. It is like I can feel it when someone is having trouble.

This can be a curse or a blessing. I remember being at a conference. It was just after breakfast and the early morning weather was already sunny and warm. I had decided to go for a swim, before getting showered and dressed and was laying by the pool, to dry off.

The woman next to me was reading a book. We nodded to one another and proceeded to immerse in our tasks at hand. She had a pair of sunglasses on, was wearing a bathing suit and had a glass of orange juice next to her. I didn’t think much of it but I remembered feeling drawn to linger a bit longer, as if I knew she wanted to talk.

I closed my eyes and took in the sunshine, the warm breeze and the energy of the glorious morning. Within a couple of minutes she asked if I was also there for the conference. We began a conversation that turned into almost an hour long.

She had been dealing with the loss of her marriage, travelled alone and was looking for a fresh start. That morning; however, she started to feel anxious and nervous about going solo to the event and was starting to unravel. She began to cry. I explained that I was also there by myself, but I loved going to these kind of events alone, as I am able to immerse fully in my thoughts.

I nudged her to believe that she could do this on her own, suggested that she be gentle with herself, as she grieved the breakdown of the marriage, convinced her to trust her instincts about her next steps and begged her to enjoy as many of the pleasant moments along her journey. It was like we were long lost friends.

She advised that she appreciated the pep talk, we hugged, she thanked me and we wished each other well as we rushed off, already late, to get ready for the day-long event.

Although I only saw her briefly, later that day, we made a connection. She needed a listening ear, I was happy to help and I felt empowered that somehow I could be of assistance to her. She appeared excited and happy, when I saw her among the crowd of hundreds. That day is a reminder of why I write about trials and tribulations.

Every single person has a story and each and every one of us has adversity in our lives. If I was to ask every reader of this article to share their life story or what they were going through right now, we could compile a massive list of things that are causing people stress. Sick parents, grieving the death of loved ones, job loss, illness, financial trouble, divorce, relationships issues, conflict, children with difficulties in school, car trouble, etc.

We are all burdened with trials and tribulations throughout our daily lives. So, do we measure the quality of our lives by the absence of trials or the number of trials? Do we judge our success or failure according to how well we avoid trials and tribulations?

I might suggest that the extent of our troubles has very little to do with the quality of our lives. I know individuals who have been through so much and yet, they are cheerful, grateful and full of hope.

Instead, perhaps, we can chose to measure the success of our lives according to how many times we have been able to overcome and persevere through the trials and how many people we have to thank for assisting us through them.

Since we can only hold one emotion at a time, a grateful heart will trump any negative emotion, every time. Deciding to look for the blessings, the things to be appreciative of, the support, the hugs, the kind words and the thoughtful deeds that people have done for us may assist us in realizing that we are champions. We are strong and we can do this thing called life.

Our trials and tribulations are part of our life story. How boring would our lives be if we had nothing to overcome? What ever would we talk about? Our friends, neighbours, coworkers and family have their own war stories. We all cry. We all suffer. We all experience pain. Some have experienced tragedy beyond comprehension and yet, they have survived.

Our lives are rich with experience. The ones who win at this life are the ones who decide to be grateful anyway, who constantly look for something to be thankful for and who continue to press forward, with an open heart and open mind.

Thank you Marlene, for reading my articles. This one is for you – it is about the fact that we can all overcome trials and tribulations and still have something to smile about. Let’s decide today to look for the good in our lives. It is all around us, if we look hard enough….

‘Gratitude is an art of painting an adversity into a lovely picture.’ ~ Kak Sri