by Terri Wagner
Reading the last few posts, I am reminded I am not the only one struggling to find meaning in a long protracted trial that I feel pretty sure I'm flunking. Yesterday, my sister who is a nurse in an emergency room walked into what has to be one of the saddest experiences a nurse can have. A two year old perfectly healthy two days ago dies; and no one can really say why. It affects everyone the rest of the day. It puts so much into perspective. The weary head cold patient doesn't really get the sympathy he/she might have. The whiner who is not really hurt all that much doesn't get much comfort. For a while, the team just works on auto pilot while the emotions roil around inside. The child had been in and out of the ER; the parents concerned and doing everything they were instructed to do; the child had seemed better; and early yesterday morning the little boy wandered out of bed into his living room, laid down on the floor and was found by his parents already in Paradise.
My sister says that is the only comfort that finally penetrates that feeling of failure for is the knowledge that this young spirit went straight to exaltation; that angels carried him back to Heavenly Father; and that he was most likely a strong spirit with little to prove, just needed that body and a bit of mortal experience. It's cold comfort, but it's something. She wonders how the others in her team cope without that knowledge. And she tries to live with the taste of failure.
A struggling Relief Society president tastes failure with a chaotic situation. Thrust into the job without much RS experience, she finds out quickly what a hard, time-consuming job it is on top of a debilitating health condition. There is so much need in her ward and so little resources. Her physical pain keeps her from even being able to move at times. She's alone, no husband, no children at hand. She feels so helpless and worries over the very real needs of her sisters.
An inactive member makes a decision that changes everything...not a good one. It will change how others perceive this member, it could cost them their membership at a time when perhaps it is most needed. That decision leads to others equally wrong with serious consequences. And all the family can do is look on in despair and frustration feeling that sense of failure.
I could go on. While I am not the person in any of those stories, they are very real. I myself vacillate between I can do this to I can't do this anymore! Funny when I was younger, the optimism was always there to "catch" me. Now the only thing that really succors me is the realization that in perspective my trial though long and scary is not nearly as burdening as what others are going through.
Years ago I decided to make up a prayer basket not unlike what they do at the temple. I pray over the names listed in there and periodically rejoice when I can take one out. I try to remain worthy to have the Spirit so I can pray individually for those who need that, but otherwise I just put them in my basket. Lately, I am beginning to seriously consider putting the entire world into my basket. There is so much need; and only one true answer: Our Savior.
As the reminder of the Atonement and the Resurrection nears, I find myself pondering the words of our latter-day prophets and apostles: the Atonement is not just about forgiveness but also about enabling. I want to tap into that enabling power to secure my situation and end my trial (two years seems forever in this situation). Is that inspiration or desperation? And in the end, if it helps (or praise be works) does it matter?
Life got suddenly serious and dangerous...or am I just missing that optimism that youth carries with it? I find myself singing the words to "I Am Woman." It's not a "Mormony" kind of song but the words sure resonate: "Yes I am wise, but it's wisdom born of pain!"
Anyone else feeling at the end of the proverbial rope?