I was coming home late Sunday night using a bus service. The trip started off eventful, although a little behind schedule. We left downtown Salt Lake City about 10 to 15 minutes later than we were supposed to and picked up multiple passengers on our way up to Rexburg, ID. During our drive, I had a nice lady named Tammi sit in the seat next to me. She and a small group of others were on their way to Missoula, MT to start work as truckers. Their group had already suffered some travel difficulties, including a no-show bus driver that delayed them 12 hours in Las Vegas and then their second bus breaking down shortly outside of Ogden, UT.
The continuation of Tammi's group and their bad luck was only the beginning of ours. Just short of the Utah-Idaho border, it began raining. Shortly after crossing the border, our window wipers ceased to work. We were driving with limited visibility. Our driver pulled into a gas station to purchase a spray on chemical to help keep the water off the windshield so she could see. By this time, it was 9:45 pm and we were due in Rexburg at 10:30 pm. We were hours behind schedule. As we continued our journey, some people joked about the situation and the string of bad luck. Others began to use more colorful language and assign blame to everything about the situation. Then, 20 miles outside of Pocatello, we hit snow. It caked the windshield and we were forced to pull over. Our driver called in for a second bus and was told it would be several hours before one could arrive. It was around 10:15 pm. What happened next is something I've reflected on a great deal about people and how we act in difficult circumstances.
My neighbor, Tammi, sat back and said "These things happen for a reason. These things happen for a reason." Several people across the way started up with their complaining and laying blame in the limited, colorful spectrum of the English language. This went on for about 10 minutes. What else were we to do? It was late. Our bus had broken down. It was snowing. Most of us had one of these two mentalities.
Then, behind me and across the aisle, one of the passengers asked if anyone was interested in sharing a taxi van. It was slow going at first getting people, but I volunteered. Thirty minutes later we were loading our luggage onto a taxi van to go home to Rexburg.
During the ride and the next day, I thought about the situation and the way different people had reacted to the difficult situation. Some had allowed themselves to get angry and began venting. Others had become apathetic and passive, saying simply "These things happen for a reason." Only one person took control of the situation and made an effort to improve it. In so doing, she was helping herself and a small group of us get home.
When we are faced with difficult situations in life, how do we act? Do we become angry? Do we just sit back and let things happen around us? Or do we take action and move towards our goal however we can?
I think of Nephi as he and his brothers were commanded to get the brass plates. They had made several attempts, and despite their efforts, they were essentially broken down on the side of the road. Laman and Lemuel became angry at the situation. The scriptures don't say very much about Sam, but it isn't recorded that he offered any suggestions. Nephi, however, had faith and took action, moving towards his goal of securing the brass plates as he was commanded.
In life, we encounter difficult circumstances. We have and will face opposition as we move towards our goals. When we do, I would like to be more like the girl on my bus. More like Nephi. I will not complain or become angry or antagonistic. It doesn't change anything and, to quote Elder Holland, "There is no situation so bad that complaining won't make it worse." However, I also do not want to become passive and do nothing. There may be times we need to wait on the Lord. However, that does not usually mean we sit and do nothing while we wait. I want to be the person who will move towards their goal, even if it seems insurmountable.
I hope as we go through life, we can remember not only our instructor goals we make each semester, but our covenants we have made with our Heavenly Father. When we have an obstacle, let us actively choose how we will act in the situation.