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Standing a little taller in adversity | Worship


Last updated 6/8/2022 at 12:14pm

Congratulations to all of the new graduates! What a wonderful achievement and a milestone in your young life.

As you plan and prepare to enter into your next phase in life, I hope you get the opportunity to reflect on your experiences and equip yourselves with the tools necessary to help you in continuing your education, entering the military or workforce, or some other endeavor you are passionate about. I think I can speak for many of us who have gone down that same path to say that we look forward to seeing your impact to society in the near future.

Since my childhood, the summer season has been one of my favorite times of the year. The long break from school was in sight, with less rain on the horizon, family vacations and summer sports being talked about, and hanging out at the beaches in Hawaii where I grew up – I still have many fond memories of my summers during my youth that resonate with me now so many years later.

For many cultures around the world, summer represents many things. Joy, hope, fun, growth, adventure, warmth – these are just several of the things that people regardless of culture associate with this time of the year. We also tend to find festivals, celebrations, and weddings being planned during these months further showing the optimism people have during this period.

Unfortunately, seasons eventually change. And like the seasons in a year, nothing will stay the same forever; there will be times that will be great and others that will not be. Current news events like the war in Ukraine or the recent mass shootings, or even personal tragedies and challenges can make us feel there is no hope or happiness in sight.

However, as difficult as things may be when they are not great, I hope that we can find things to be optimistic about. American author and motivational speaker Wayne W. Dyer is quoted saying, “What is hope but a feeling of optimism, a thought that says things will improve, it won’t always be bleak, there’s a way to rise above the present circumstances. Hope is an internal awareness that you do not have to suffer forever and that somehow, somewhere there is a remedy for despair that you will come upon if you can only maintain this expectancy in your heart.”

For those who know me well, they know I love sports. One sport that I grew to enjoy, but have not been able to play as much as I would like to is golf. Playing golf is challenging to say the least. Staying positive and optimistic while putting aside the memories of poor play is an even bigger challenge.

And the reason I got hooked on it is because for a novice like myself, I probably make more bad shots than good. But every once in a while, when you recover from a bad one and put that ball where you intended it to go, that satisfaction of overcoming the bad makes playing the game worthwhile. In the movie titled “The Legend of Bagger Vance”, Bagger Vance is a stranger that appears one day to help a former hometown hero, Rannulph Junuh, who saw the horrors of war and had given in to the thought that there was nothing good in the world.

Throughout the movie, Vance guides him back to playing golf, a game Junnuh was so good at before enlisting in the war, all while teaching him about life. In one particular scene Vance tells Junuh as he struggled to regain his golf game, “[Golf] is a game that can’t be won; only played …”, and because of that, giving up cannot be an option.

Like the seasons of the year or the game of golf, life won’t always be good and it will throw us for a loop at times. Unfortunately, there are just too many things out there we cannot control. The only thing we can control is how we respond to those circumstances.

Gordon B. Hinckley, former President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints once stated that when we are faced with adversity and negativity we need to “… Believe in yourself. Believe in your capacity to do great and good things. Believe that no mountain is so high that you cannot climb it. Believe that no storm is so great that you cannot weather it ...You are a child of God, of infinite capacity… [So] stand a little taller; rise a little higher, be a little better. Make the extra effort. You will be happier. You will know a new satisfaction, a new gladness in your heart …”

It is my hope and prayer that we continue to strive to persevere through difficult times, be a better person, be friendlier and kinder, and avoid getting caught up in the moment of adversity with anger and disdain. We all have the capacity to “stand a little taller,” and when we do so we can enjoy life more and help make someone else feel a little happier.


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