“THIS SHOULD BE OUR PURPOSE–TO PERSEVERE AND ENDURE, YES, BUT ALSO TO BECOME MORE SPIRITUALLY REFINED AS WE MAKE OUR WAY THROUGH SUNSHINE AND SORROW.” –Thomas S. Monson
The very thought of attempting to smile and make conversation was daunting, and made her want to retire to bed right then. She kicked her horse a little and left William behind her without saying a word. What was it he was really asking of her? Did he not know that she was not to be trusted anymore? Her shame was leaking out her eyes and it was obscuring her view of the path her horse, Hera, was on. She moved the reigns to one hand as she wiped the tears away quickly. She heard William coming up behind her quickly, and she kicked the horse harder. She knew she was taking terrible risks by riding in this emotional state, but it was the one thing that seemed to calm her. People died all the time on horses. She enjoyed the risk. She flicked the reigns and felt the response in the animal immediately and felt that brief lightness of heart. Maybe today would be the day. Maybe Hera would throw her today. Maybe she would finally be out of the pain she was trapped in. Every day it was the same. She would be coaxed out of bed by her ladies maid, forced to eat something, greet her brother with as much confidence as she could muster, and then the rest of the day was nothing. Blackness. Cold, hard, blackness. She was sure the sun rose and set, but she didn’t notice. She was sure she breathed in and out because there were times she felt like she had to remind herself to do so. Every day she relived that moment when the truth came out and she searched for evidence in the weeks preceding that moment that should have warned her of his character, but every day, she found none. She was ruined. She was no longer capable of living, simply ruined. If each day would be like this, she knew not how long she could handle it. Blurriness. Darkness. Sadness. Every shade of gray. There was no sun, no peace, and certainly no joy.
This is what my world looked like for ten years. And now I celebrate five years of persevering and enduring this “Blurriness. Darkness. Sadness. Every shade of gray.”
I am pleased to offer you this except, however, a poignant talk by Thomas S. Monson helped me prepare to write this blog. You can find a link to the entire talk at he end of the blog post. Thomas S. Monson speaks of how our trials can refine us and strengthen us. I do not regret those ten years of depression. I do not wish I never had them. I actually am very grateful that I was able to experience them because I was blessed with so many things: a deep profound empathy for those who suffer for any reason, a sense of accomplishment for the most mundane tasks, I learned to recognize how prayer and gratitude has literally been life-saving, but most of all I have learned that it made me stronger. Here are a few short quotes from Thomas S. Monson’s talk that coated my grateful, celebrating, depression-free heart:
- “Whenever we are inclined to feel burdened down with the blows of life, let us remember that others have passed the same way, have endured, and then have overcome.”
- “From the bed of pain, from the pillow with tears, we are lifted heavenward by that divine assurance and precious promise: ‘I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.’ Such comfort is priceless.”
- “Our Heavenly Father, who gives us so much delight in, also knows that we learn and grow and become stronger as we face and survive the trials through which we pass. We know that there are times when we experience heartbreaking sorrow, when we grieve, and when we may be tested to our limits. However, such difficulties allow us to change for the better, to rebuild our lives in the way our Heavenly Father teaches us, and to become something different from what we were–better than we were, more understanding than we were, more empathetic than we were, with stronger testimonies than we had before."
“Good Timber”. Making the Most of Yourself
Good timber does not grow with ease,
The stronger wind, the stronger trees.
The further sky, the greater length,
The more the storm, the more the strength.
By sun and cold, by rain and snow,
In trees and men good timbers grow.
I pray that all of us will gratefully and bravely face the wind in our leaves, knowing full well that that is how good timber grows.
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