You've had many ordeals in the past. During these ordeals, life seemed unbearable. You may have collapsed from the exhaustion of hopelessness and curled into a fetal position. Regardless of how difficult this new ordeal may be, as with the others, this too will be overcome. It will make you stronger.
A man cannot despair if he can imagine a better life, and if he can enact something of its possibility. It is only when I am ensnarled in the meaningless ordeals and the ordeals of meaninglessness, of which our public and political life is now so productive, that I lose the awareness of something better, and feel the despair of having come to the dead end of possibility.
Shouldn't we suppose that many of our most painful ordeals will look quite different a million years from now, as we recall them on the New Earth? What if one day we discover that God has wasted nothing in our life on Earth? What if we see that every agony was part of giving birth to an eternal joy?
Do not flinch from experiences that might destroy your beliefs. The thought you cannot think controls you more than thoughts you speak aloud. Submit yourself to ordeals and test yourself in fire. Relinquish the emotion which rests upon a mistaken belief, and seek to feel fully that emotion which fits the facts.
There is a universal element in man which he can assert by so acting as if the purpose of the Universe were also his purpose. It is the function of the supreme ordeals of life to develop in men this power, to give to their life this distinction, this height of dignity, these vast horizons.
The cost of our success is the exhaustion of natural resources, leading to energy crises, climate change, pollution, and the destruction of our habitat. If you exhaust natural resources, there will be nothing left for your children. If we continue in the same direction, humankind is headed for some frightful ordeals, if not extinction.
Christian de Duve
When most people think about the future, they dream up ways that they might live happier lives. But notice this phenomenon. When people remember the crucial events that formed them, they don't usually talk about happiness. It is usually the ordeals that seem most significant. Most people shoot for happiness but feel formed through suffering.
My divorce has changed my life. I don't cry anymore. My bad dreams are starting to go away. I feel stronger, as if all these ordeals have toughened me. When I go out in the street, sometimes women in the neighborhood call to me, congratulating me and shouting 'Mabrouk!' "" a word once tainted by evil memories, but which I know like to hear again. And shouted by women I don't even know! I blush, but deep down I'm so proud.
Angels are those beings who have been on an earth like this, and have passed through the same ordeals that we are now passing through. They have kept their first estate far enough to preserve themselves in the Priesthood. They did not so violate the law of the Priesthood and condemn themselves to the sin against the Holy Ghost as to be finally lost. They are not crowned with the celestial ones. They are persons who have lived upon an earth, but did not magnify the Priesthood in that high degree that many others have done who have become Gods, even the sons of God.
METAPHYSICAL LECTURE 1 It has been said that after undergoing certain ordeals - whether ecstatic or abysmal - we should be obliged to change our names, as we are no longer who we once were. Instead the opposite rule is applied: our names linger long after anything resembling what we were, or thought we were, has disappeared entirely. Not that there was ever much to begin with - only a few questionable memories and impulses drifting about like snowflakes in a gray and endless winter. But each soon floats down and settles into a cold and nameless void.
Two distinctive traits especially identify beyond a doubt a strong and dominant character. One trait is contempt for external circumstances, when one is convinced that men ought to respect, to desire, and to pursue only what is moral and right, that men should be subject to nothing, not to another man, not to some disturbing passion, not to Fortune. The second trait, when your character has the disposition I outlined just now, is to perform the kind of services that are significant and most beneficial; but they should also be services that are a severe challenge, that are filled with ordeals, and that endanger not only your life but also the many comforts that make life attractive. Of these two traits, all the glory, magnificence, and the advantage, too, let us not forget, are in the second, while the drive and the discipline that make men great are in the former.
Marcus Tullius Cicero
It is eighteen years ago, almost to the day- A sunny day with the leaves just turning, The touch-lines new-ruled - since I watched you play Your first game of fotball, then, like a satellite Wrenched from its orbit, go drifting away Behind a scatter of boys. I can see You walking away from me towards the school with the pathos of a half-fledged thing set free Into a wilderness, the gait of one Who finds no path where the path should be. That hesitant figure, eddying away Like a winged seed loosened from its parent stem, Has something I never quite grasp to convey About nature's give-and-take - the small, the scorching Ordeals which fire one's irresolute clay. I had worse partings, but none that so Gnaws at my mind still. Perhaps it is roughly Saying what God alone could perfectly show- How selfhood begins with a walking away, And love proved in the letting go.
In older myths, the dark road leads downward into the Underworld, where Persephone is carried off by Hades, much against her will, while Ishtar descends of her own accord to beat at the gates of Hell. This road of darkness lies to the West, according to Native American myth, and each of us must travel it at some point in our lives. The western road is one of trials, ordeals, disasters and abrupt life changes - yet a road to be honored, nevertheless, as the road on which wisdom is gained. James Hillman, whose theory of 'archetypal psychology' draws extensively on Greco-Roman myth, echoes this belief when he argues that darkness is vital at certain periods of life, questioning our modern tendency to equate mental health with happiness. It is in the Underworld, he reminds us, that seeds germinate and prepare for spring. Myths of descent and rebirth connect the soul's cycles to those of nature.
Rites-of-passage stories... were cherished in pre-literate societies not only for their entertainment value, but also as mythic tools to prepare young men and women for life's ordeals. A wealth of such stories can be found marking each major transition in the human life cycle: puberty, marriage, childbirth, menopause, death. Other rites-of-passage, less predictable but equally transformative, include times of sudden change and calamity such as illness and injury, the loss of one's home, the death of a loved one, etc. These are the times when we wake, like Dante, to find ourselves in a deep, dark wood - an image that in Jungian psychology represents an inward journey. Rites-of-passage tales point to the hidden roads that lead out of the dark again - and remind us that at the end of the journey we're not the same person as when we started. Ascending from the Netherworld (that grey landscape of illness, grief, depression, or despair), we are 'twice-born' in our return to life, carrying seeds - new wisdom, ideas, creativity and fecundity of spirit.