The value of trying

The two young ladies were excited, but a little apprehensive about the upcoming blood drive at the local high school. They wanted to give blood, but it was just that they had never done it before. They had recently turned 18 and were looking forward to donating blood at their school, which held a drive each year.

They both knew the value of donating. In fact, those who donated would be given a sticker that stated, "I saved a life." The sticker would be a source of satisfaction to them, but more important, it would show that they cared enough to give blood to be used by someone in need. They would proudly wear the stickers on their shirts at school during that day.But on the day of the blood drive, both young ladies were rejected for medical reasons. One had a heart murmur; the other had an extremely rapid heart beat for which she had been under a doctor's care.

Instead of receiving an "I saved a life" sticker, both were given an "I tried" sticker. For some, such a sticker would be condescening; for others it would indicate failure, that the goal was not reached. But not for the two young ladies. Even though they were rejected, they were not dejected! Although they could not give blood, they were still happy they had made the effort. Proudly they wore their "I tried" stickers to class that day.

Life, sometimes, is like that.

Despite our best intentions, we aren't always successful in everything we try. As yet, none of us has reached perfection, and because of that we sometimes simply fall short of the mark in some very worthwhile efforts. For whatever reason, there are times the best we can do is receive only an "I tried" sticker.

However, in our society today, we may feel that just trying isn't good enough, that somehow we must always win the prize. But in reality not everyone is going to cross the finish line first. Most scientists will never receive a Nobel prize; most journalists will never be awarded the Pulitzer prize. Most businessmen will never become the CEO of their companies. Some candidates may never get elected to political office.

But who can say how much good is accomplished by their efforts in honestly trying? There is nothing wrong with, nor any shame to, a valiant "I tried" effort. It's only when we don't try at all that we fail.

The important thing in life is that we try, and then try again if we don't succeed, and then again, if needed. There's a Primary song that illustrates this principle. We all sang the words to the song in our younger days:

"Jesus once was a little child, A little child like me; And he was pure and meek and mild, As a little child should be. So, little children, Let's you and I Try to be like him, Try, try, try." ("Jesus Once Was a Little Child," from Children's Songbook, page 55.)

If we do all we can do in our endeavors in life, and still fall short, we should not punish ourselves by feeling worthless or incapable of succeeding. After all, that is one of the reasons we are here on earth - to work out our probation, by trying, by striving, by picking ourselves up and trying again.

Even in our greatest quest in life, we will fall short, in and of our own efforts. The Apostle Paul, in writing to the Romans, summed it up this way: "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." (Rom. 3:23.) But yet, a loving Heavenly Father didn't leave us in that state. He provided a way for us to return to His presence and enjoy all of the blessings He has in store for us.

That, of course, is through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Since we can go only so far with our own limited abilities, we then must rely on Him, through His infinite and supreme sacrifice.

Just as the ill-fated Willie and Martin handcart companies on the high plains of snowy Wyoming in the winter of 1856 couldn't make it on their own and had to be rescued, we, too, cannot make it on our own without divine help.

Through the Atonement, the Savior will make up for our inadequacies and deficiencies, providing we repent, live worthily and do the best we can. Then He who is the Great Rescuer will take us the rest of the way to our ultimate destination.

"For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved." (John 3:17.)

Yes, we must do our part. We must try with all our abilities, and then the sweet effects of the Atonement will take over, and we, indeed, will win the greatest prize of all - eternal life with our Father and His Beloved Son, the Redeemer of the world.

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