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Turning trials to triumphs

A few days ago, I lost a dear friend to cancer. I had not seen him for fifteen years and yet, when we chatted on his final day, all those years disappeared. We chuckled over shared experiences, often embarrassing, when things hadn't quite gone to plan - slipping down the stairs and losing one's dignity or entering the wrong (occupied) bedroom when staying with guests.

Life passes quickly and we have no way of knowing how long our journey will last. But we can be sure, whether long or short, there will always be twists and turns, hills and valleys.

I would love my friend to still be with me. I love the idea of picking up the phone and giving him a call or just dropping in to see him in his delightful country cottage. The possibility of these things happening has now gone forever but my memory of him will remain for a lifetime.

If I had been able to design the path of my own life, it would certainly not have included so many deep valleys or unplanned turns. But I believe it is managing the dark days and the unexpected incidents that makes us. I often reflect on the wise but challenging words that James, brother of Jesus, shared with his Christian friends:
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

My friend had the happy knack of turning trials into triumphs and, as long as my journey lasts, I want to do the same.