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September 16, 2012 at 11:27 AMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Strength Through Trial

By Jeffrey VanWingen M.D. More Blogs by This Author

I went shopping for a fridge this past week.  When shopping for such items, I invariably pass by the rows of pristine, perfect models to the back aisle where they put the scratch, dent and previous floor models. My practical reasoning is simple - these items are a better deal and look just as they will after a week in my house. I feel more comfortable around things that have had a little "life experience."  I feel the same way about people in my life.

The Two Types of Party-Goers

Large social events are not something I gravitate toward, but certain personas emerge in times like these. There are those who are reserved to superficial conversation, small talk easily found at these venues, and then there are those who have depth. 

These persons may have a closeness to you, having been through past trials or challenges.  Perhaps they just truly care. Regardless, these people have a substance that stands out. Their metal has been tempered a bit and it may have a few scratches, but past challenges or hardships have yielded to patience, understanding and a vulnerability that invites genuine interactions.

I prefer this.

Strength Through Trial

Challenges involve pain and suffering. They can tie our stomachs in knots with worry and stress. But then, there is always something better on the other side. 

In a way, these are potential labor pains for the birth of a better you. I consistently hear from people that they consider themselves a better person for the hardships they have endured and worked through. There's a lot of wisdom in the advice which tells us to embrace the struggles we've had.
 
We don't ask for difficult times. They just happen. But consider that maybe things happen for a reason. As a doctor, I see plenty of people on a regular basis with such trials - cancer, broken bones, mental illness, loss of a loved one, sexually transmitted illnesses, diabetes, failed attempts at weight loss, heart disease... the list goes on and on.

It is a privilege to get in the passenger seat with people as they work through their issues toward the other side where strength and wisdom can be found.  Through these trials, I experience a special kinship.

Keep on Fighting

Should we ask for struggles in our lives?  Probably not, but we should embrace life for what it is - full of imperfections and uncertainty.  Avoid sheltering yourself and those whom you love.  Bubbles are fragile - if you live your life in one, it will inevitably burst.

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