Today at stake conference, our stake president spoke on adversity. It brought to mind a lot of memories. I heard a snippet of short story on the radio about a man’s memories of a chess teacher. 1One quote that stood out was that chess was only interesting when it was challenging. I don’t normally think of a game as adversity, but it’s a useful metaphor for why having adversity in life is desirable.
It also brought to mind another stake president’s talk about adversity that I had seen adapted into a play.2 What has stuck with me all of these years is how in a single specific instance of tragedy and adversity, blessings and growth can still be found. I fear such tragedy, but take comfort in knowing that others have weathered it.
Finally, I look at Lehi’s teachings in 2 Nephi 2 a little differently than I used to. “For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things.” This opposition isn’t just punishment for sin, but I think it also refers to the adversity that Lehi mentions in the first verse. Bad things that happened as a result of being in the wilderness, and suffering at the hands of Laman and Lemuel.
We often imagine how nice life would be without adversity; but every so often we should pause to imagine how vapid life would be without it as well. It would be life without happiness or misery. The only reason such a life sounds happen is because we’d be carrying with us the memories of the adversities we’ve already overcome.