By Kari Diane Pike
The question caught me by surprise. One moment I was on the phone discussing Relief Society business with a sister in the ward and the next moment she asked,
“What do you do when your kids are making stupid choices and the washer stops working and the car breaks down, the air conditioning dies, and your husband comes home and tells you he had to take a cut in pay or lose his job?”
Based on our earlier discussion, I assumed the question was rhetorical. We talked a bit about how it seems that challenges come like waves, several rolling over the top of us in quick succession, diminishing, and then catching us by surprise by knocking our feet out from under us, and trying to pull us out to sea. She stopped me mid-sentence.
“I really want to know. What do you do? How do you cope?”
“Yeah. You. What do you do?”
The first answer to pop into my head was not the one I considered proper and worthy for a Relief Society President to give. But the words slipped out of my mouth before I could stop them.
“I eat chocolate.”
There. I said it, quietly and guiltily. The truth was out. Why, oh why, didn’t I bear my testimony of prayer and scripture study? My face burned with embarrassment and I was glad she could not see my discomfort. Mortified, my mind raced trying to come up with a way to cover my faux pas. Then I heard laughter on the other end of the line. Not a titter or a giggle, but great gales of laughter. What could I do but laugh with her? We snorted and snickered and named all the glorious kinds of chocolate and how to eat it. Then came the tears; torrents of healing, cleansing tears. And I cried with her.
“Thank you! I feel so much better. I guess I just had to let some things go before I could move forward. Laughing seems to have broken the dam. I’m going to be okay now. That’s all I needed.”
I hung up the phone in amazement. My heart felt twice as big and twice as tender. I knew that those words of “truth” came from the Spirit. They weren’t the words I would have chosen, because I couldn’t see my friend’s heart like the Lord could. He knew exactly what she needed to hear. He knew that she knew the importance of prayer and fasting and studying her scriptures. She just needed to know that she was not alone. She needed to know that other women experience similar feelings. She didn’t need a discourse. She needed lots of love-
and a little chocolate.