On Sunday I taught the lesson in Relief Society on President Eyring’s talk on “Adversity.”
And he says this: “With all the differences in our lives, we have at least one challenge in common. We all must deal with adversity.”
So I know you’re here with me on this.
My latest bout comes in the form of another miscarriage, which I seem to believe I’ve gotten over till suddenly a midnight fear finds me and convinces me I’ll never bear children again, or I see darling girls everywhere with round bellies cloaked by long, hippie dresses. And so I deal with my own moments of pointless jealousy and longing: longing for another dark-eyed babe, longing to feel that life inside of me, longing for the silly excuse to eat whatever I want, but mostly, longing for answers as to why.
“Why” is my own personal definition of limbo.
“Why” is the middle place for me in a trial: it’s the sticky part between occurrence and being done—or at least moving on. It’s the waiting and wondering that threatens to never go away. It is perhaps—dare I say it?— the actual adversity of the adversity.
One sister in class piped up that learning to endure IS the trial—that it prepares us for that final feat of endurance in old age: the waiting to die. And another sister added that while we wait, “We have everything we need here to fulfill our life mission.” And when that happens, President Eyring tells us: “[That] our spirits will be changed. We will become able to want what God wants, to think as He thinks, and thus be prepared for the trust of an endless posterity to teach and to lead through tests to be raised up to qualify to live forever in eternal life.”
As we walk and move everyday toward that goal, I like to envision myself that future goddess, finally worthy of all that “endless posterity” (hopefully including a few thousand in the form of cherubic baby) with a trove of knowledge that might include how and why I got there. Till then, I’m reminding myself of my goddess potential and the tools I have been given by my loving Heavenly Father—everything I need—to get me back home to Him.
It begins with prayer. This eventually leads to a diligent rereading of most beloved scriptures and Conference talks, time at the temple, and long conversations with my ever-indulgent spouse and parents.
But there’s more:
In my toolbox there is also my desire to know, to bear more children. There are priesthood blessings. There is the simple need to bake things. And the even simpler need for quiet walks alone. Friends and siblings make it better, as do strawberry milkshakes and long afternoon cuddles with my children as we pour over “I Spy” or “Can You See What I See,” or lately, The Little House series.
It’s truly a wonder, but mostly it’s a given that as women we have the power to heal and endure. I think about President Ucthdorf’s talk that endows us with the spirit and desire of creation… would creating peace in our souls be any different? Still I find that my tools are not limited to my own sphere and that I know exactly what my children need during their own personal trials. A nightmare? One serene book read aloud and a long prayer with mommy. A blighted math test? A thorough review of flashcards while we mix up the brownie batter.
So. What else is there? What gets you through your own trials? Tell me. Is it your tenacity? Your optimism? A cherished hymn on repeat? A willingness to going outside of yourself in service? Exercise? Chocolate donuts? Cake? Bearing your testimony? Seeking friends out in long conversation? Journaling? Collecting quotes? A dedicated study of relatable “Book of Mormon” stories? A positive attitude? The smiles of your children? The dinners delivered?
My dear fellow future goddesses, let’s share. What is in your toolbox?