Facing Trials with Optimism
April 1996

Facing Trials with Optimism

I believe in sustaining our living prophet, President Gordon B. Hinckley, by listening to and following his counsel.

In general conference last fall, I listened to President Hinckley tell of the emigration of thousands of European Saints who faced their trials “with optimism and enthusiasm” (Ensign, Nov. 1995, 72). He counseled us to do the same.

It was hard advice to hear. At the time I was unhappy, frustrated, and busy feeling sorry for myself.

For months over the summer, I trained to become a member of the varsity volleyball team. I ran, lifted weights, did endless drills. I put in my time. The work paid off. I made the team. My dream was coming true, or so I expected.

Then the dream started to tarnish. Others played better than I did. Much of the time, I warmed the bench, cheering my teammates, yearning to play more, trying to deal with the disappointment.

Life wasn’t being fair. My attitude affected my relationship with the other girls on the team. And it affected how I felt about myself.

Why would Heavenly Father let me work so hard and come so far to end up so disappointed? Finally, after wrestling with my choices and praying for direction, I decided to leave the team. I needed to get back to my studies and my life away from volleyball.

But I couldn’t seem to let go of my disappointment and resentment. Then general conference came. It is a time of year I love because the Spirit is abundant in our home. Conference can be heard in every room.

President Hinckley’s address offered the counsel I needed to put things into perspective. By having an “overpowering spirit of optimism” and enthusiasm (Ensign, Nov. 1995, 72), I could decide to let go of my volleyball experience. I could decide to be positive and optimistic about the many good things in my life: my friendships, my studies, my family. I could play volleyball for fun rather than competition. Suddenly the dilemma that had seemed so overwhelming began to fade. I started to feel better about myself. I read the scriptures more. I prayed more. I liked other people more. I felt the Spirit reenter my life.

I am grateful for a living prophet who taught me to let go of feeling sorry for myself. He quoted Alma 26:35, which teaches us there never was a people “that had so great reason to rejoice as we, since the world began.” I realize now that I have so much to be grateful for, so many reasons to rejoice. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.