My Ghanaian friend Kofi Gbolonyo was checking in with friends about a proposed venture and ended with the sentiment, “No Trial, No Tribulation—No Triumph.” I like that! Without daring to try something out, one would be closed to both the suffering and glory to follow. And without the tribulation, the deep roots sinking down into the darkness, why no flowering triumph branching out into the sky.
So often we choose to stay safe and condemn ourselves to a bland, middle of the road lukewarm life. It’s when we set foot on the path that has no GPS Destination, but simply looks enticing and feels worthy of exploration that things start to get moving. If it’s the path that’s meant for us, there is no question that some version of the Emerald City awaits at the far end of the Yellow Brick Road. But many trials and tribulations on the way.
Of course, one never wholly arrives and those trials are renewed daily—or at least weekly or monthly. But their size changes and the ability to navigate them changes. I can happily report that class after class these days is almost pure Triumph, with just the right size dose of Trial and Tribulation—the recalcitrant kids, the outraged parent, the grouchy colleague—to keep things honest, humble and interesting. After more than 7,000 classes, I finally know enough about what I’m doing to get straight to the pure joy of it. And the kids feel it and know it too. 7 classes today and each one a jewel and now on to sing with the Seniors.
In short, I’m glad I signed up for the trials, endured the tribulations and savored the triumphs. On to the weekend.