This topic has been on my mind recently.
It will come as no surprise to anyone when I say that everyone who lives and breathes on this earth will go through hard times. And what is hard for one, might not be hard for another.
Ever since I was baptized as an 8 year old child, I have read in the scriptures of ancient prophets and peoples going through hard times. I have valued the insights I have read from their experiences.
Every day in the news I hear about troubles in this world and what some people are dealing with. Or, I've read stories/heard first hand what it was like to experience one trial or another. But, there's nothing like enduring the trial in a very personal way.
As a child growing up, I had parents, church leaders and teachers tell me that I needed to challenge myself and do hard things! Little did I realize then how important this would be for what I would experience later in my life. These simple experiences as a child/youth gave me a desire to endure and succeed no matter what may come.
I love this picture.
Anything is possible, right?
At times, I have felt like the guy in the picture below. I've felt like I've been on top of the world! Like I am the smartest/most clever person to take a step on this earth :) Or, that I am just simply truly amazing... all because I did something that was challenging for me, such as figuring out how to assemble an impossible bookcase or configure a bike rack on the back of a vehicle :) (BOTH of these were done this past year!)
However, I know that each time I have felt like this, I could not have accomplished it without the help of the Lord. And, this statement below is SO true.
There have been other times in my life when I've just had to endure a hard trial. It's at these times that I REALLY do hard things, but I PRAY EVEN HARDER and ask for strength beyond my own. And, somehow, it's always come.
I, like everyone, can name different periods of my life that have been hard. I've stared up at the peak of the mountain and wondered how the heck I am going to make it to the top - but yet, I always have (although sometimes in better shape than others).
Up until this point in my life, I would have said that my parents divorce (and the events around it) was the hardest trial I had to endure over an extended period of time.
But, this weekend I realized I have one to top that and I've wondered why this one is harder when it's only been a couple of months and not a couple of years, like the divorce.
I came to the conclusion that why this one is harder is because it's not about me. I am not the one who's really suffering. Instead, I am the one who is at the mercy of doctors, nurses, medical tests, etc. to help someone I love. I am the one who is standing there watching my mom suffer in ways I have personally never seen before in anyone.
I've never had a family member so sick and so weak, without knowing why or what is wrong.
My mom has been my rock my entire life, especially after I moved away from home to college, then to Boston, and then DC. She has been with me every step of the way. And, now, I am the one helping to feed her dinner because her fingers can't grasp the fork, or brushing her hair while she lies in bed so it doesn't get too knotty. I am the one trying to smile and put on a cheerful face when things aren't looking so good.
It's not about me this time... as it really always has been when it comes to my mom. It's never been about her, but it has been, for her, all about her children.
Now it's about her.
She hates that.
I also have no control over the situation and it is so hard and so frustrating to see someone I love suffer so much. More tears have been shed at random times over the past few months than I have in years. There have been days when I've woken up praying that things could just go back to the way they were because I wasn't sure I could make it through one more day of it all.
And yet, I have.
And, I'll continue to do so.
I am so fortunate to have two wonderful and supportive brothers. I am so grateful for supportive extended family, friends and church family. I am grateful for the opportunities I've had recently to see and learn from others who have gone through similar experiences. I have never been so aware of people who struggle with health problems... people of all ages. My heart goes out to the family members of these individuals as well and the doctors, nurses, and caregivers. It takes a special person to have the patience and skills to care for those suffering from illness.
What has gotten me through every day has been prayer, feeling the Spirit and noticing the tender mercies of the Lord.