Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Storms of Life

Once again it's really late, and I should be going to bed. I'm exhausted enough to do so, but I have something I want to write about, so hopefully I can do it quickly. I apologize, but this is going to be somewhat of a sentimental post, but that's the mood I'm in at the moment. Proceed no further if you don't want to read about it. I'm also trying to express deep feelings of my heart, and I'm not sure I quite accomplished exactly what I had in mind, but I did try.

Tonight I went with a friend from work to see the Glenn Beck movie. It's based upon his new book "The Christmas Sweater." It's kind of detailing his conversion to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Although the story itself has been changed some, the basic gist of it is the same. He talks about how his father died of cancer when he was 10. His mother was doing everything in her power to help make ends meet. For Christmas the year he turned 12, he really wanted a shiny new bike and had it all picked out. He was really upset when all he received was a sweater his mother had knitted. They went to his grandparents' house for Christmas dinner and he was further disappointed when he didn't receive the bike he wanted so badly. His mother wanted to stay overnight because she was too tired to drive home because of all the long hours she had been working, but he was insistent. They drove home, and he fell asleep--but so did his mother. She was killed in the accident. He talks about the ensuing "storm of life" that he had to face which concluded with this vision he had of an older guy in the cornfield who taught him that he has to face the storm and not be afraid to walk through it so he can experience the brightness and beauty on the other side. It was a strong parable about the power of the Atonement to help us make it through the tough times. I'm crying right now as I write about it because I find it that touching.

This is very basic description of the movie and I don't know that I'm doing it justice, but I was so moved by the story. Yes, I cried buckets as I watched it. There was a sort of 10-minute intermission in the middle which talked about Jon Huntsman, Sr. and how he overcame poverty to become a millionaire. Later, he faced his storm of cancer by building the Huntsman Cancer Institute to provide hope for cancer patients and their families. I don't know exactly what in that struck a chord with me, but something touched me, and I cried all the way through the segment.

The whole show made me reflect on some of the things I've been through this year and brought up feelings that I don't particularly want to think about. It has been a tough year for me, and I've been through some tough "storms" this year, some of which were so difficult that I didn't know how in the world I was ever going to cope with them. It was during that most difficult time that I watched all my external supports being taken away (or so it felt like) and I wondered why in the world my Father in Heaven was doing this to me. In looking back though, I realized some important insights. Not only was this an opportunity for me to learn just how strong my faith is (which was a goal I set this year) but it was also an experience that humbled me and helped me realize just how dependent I am on my Heavenly Father and Savior Jesus Christ for strength and comfort. I am such an independent person that it's often hard for me to allow myself to rely on other people and especially those I can't see; hence the desire I felt to strengthen my faith.

I felt so alone at that time and didn't understand how Heavenly Father and Jesus could have left me, but I realize that they were there for me all along. It was a period of intense testing, but I am better and stronger for it, even if what was so difficult for me doesn't really go away. It's just something I had to learn to deal with and accept. I handle it well except at times when it is brought front and center, which causes me to falter but mostly I hold strong.

Later, when other tough times came, my faith was stronger so I could bear it. A few weeks ago I was reading in Ether chapter 12, which is all about faith. I came to the scripture that talks about how you receive "no witness until after the trial of your faith" and I realized that I know that with all of my heart. I have been tested and proven myself true, and now I have a witness of that for myself. I wish that I had a better understanding of the Atonement at the point I was struggling so much, so I could have applied it more to my situation, which would have been a great comfort to me. However, I am pleased that I have made it through this year's storms. I'm sure there will be plenty next year as well, so I'd better start strengthening myself now. . . and keep in mind that I am never alone.

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