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.

  1. Stephan Enter’s “Resistance” which aired on NPR’s Selected Shorts on March 8, 2016
  2. The talk was ‘The Uses of Adversity” by Carlfield Broderick and the play was Maror by James Goldberg
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