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And This too Shall Pass

By Justine Dorton

“I bless you to learn the lessons you need to learn from this affliction.”

Those words were uttered in the blessing I received yesterday. I received those words from the mouth of my husband, acting in authority from the Lord.

My initial response was something along the lines of, “Whatever (and say it just like all those teenagers who can say it so flippantly ”“ Wut-evah”¦). I just need to get this blasted kidney stone out of my body.”

I thanked our good friend for coming over to help administer the blessing, and I said to him, kind of jokingly, “what on earth do you think I’m supposed to learn from this torture?” chuckle, chuckle.

He did chuckle, but dang it, it was the kind of laugh that holds meaning. His laugh kind of sounded like, “Oh, little girl. You’ll learn soon enough about the lessons from this pain.” Out loud he only said, “Well, if there’s nothing to learn from pain, it sure would make you just want to sit around and cuss a lot.”

So all day long, as I sit curled up in the fetal position, crying and moaning, feeling high on strange medications, I prayed.

“OK, tell me what it is. I want to learn it. I want this to be over. Where’s the lesson? Is it patience? Is it empathy? Is it long-suffering? WHAT!? I can be patient. I know I can! I can really be empathetic! I can! I can!”

But I still have the stone. Now it’s stuck somewhere in some too small tube somewhere. I guess I haven’t learned anything yet. I probably need surgery to have it removed.

So I start to search. Where’s my lesson? I go to the back of the Scriptures. I look up endure, tribulation, pain, suffer, anything remotely applicable. Maybe my answer is somewhere in here. My top runners so far?

D&C 122:5-7, which is lovely all together, but my favorite part is the very end. “”¦know, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.”

I guess I need some experience. I guess I need to know that I too am human.

But what about D&C 24: 8? “Be patient in afflictions, for thou shalt have many, but endure them, for, lo, I am with thee, even unto the end of thy days.” Maybe I need to know the Lord is with me during these times.

I’ve even wondered if maybe I should learn to accept more help. Stubborn and independent as I am, maybe I’m too proud, too defiantly “on-my-own-ish”. Many in my family don’t even know I’m the least bit sick. Maybe I won’t ditch this thing until I call them all. But, then, maybe things don’t work quite that way. I just don’t see the Lord working on a quid pro quo kind of basis.

So, I’m still here. Learning away. Stubborn as ever, impatient as ever, still wishing I could just cuss a lot. When my husband spoke to me with his hands on my head, he said, “This will resolve itself quickly.” Quickly? Wut-evah.




(postscript to this story — I told my mother about the whole thing. I passed the stone within 6 hours of that phone call. hmmm…)

About Justine Dorton

Justine is a mother to five children, and has a husband lodged somewhere (probably in the den). She is not very fond of speaking of herself in third person.

11 thoughts on “And This too Shall Pass”

  1. "So, I"m still here. Learning away. Stubborn as ever, impatient as ever, still wishing I could just cuss a lot."

    My favorite line. Sometimes we are simply "still here" without specific answers or guidance or knowledge. I feel that way a lot actually. Not great, or amazing, or enlightened, but still here. There's got to be some kind of lesson in the value of that state.

  2. You were already able to show more empathy for Melonie's dad, that's something, right?

    I love your title. I'm such a sucker for plays on words like that. Glad it already did pass, and you're not still learning.

  3. I have no wise, spiritual, or humorous thoughts. I'm just worried. I didn't know thirty-something women could get kidney stones. Am I next? Don't I have enough learning going on already? You've really got me going.

  4. 5 years ago I passed my own rotten kidney stone–stone's not really the right word. The doctor described them as about a gagillion tiny grains of sand, but sister they hurt! I learned a few things: I have 3 kidneys (pretty wierd), the prescription medication that turned my urine blue will, in fact, stain a toilet bowl (in this case, my sister-in-law's. embarrassing), and that even when your body forgets, your mind remembers the pain (blessing or curse?). Still, 5 years later, I sometimes give a silent thanks for the much-taken-for-granted blessing of a pain-free pee. Is it ever really as simple as needing the salty to taste the sweet? Most of the time I don't think so, but in the case of my million tiny kidney stones it's the one thing that's remained. Of course I do have 3 kidneys, so really, what do I know?

  5. I have received quite a sum of advice, too, but the general tone of this advice involved me going to raw veganism. Now, we're not far from vegetarians at our house, but I just don't think I could ever stop cooking!

    And empathy is soo hard for me, so I'd better learn that one quick or I'll keep getting these. I do think Maralise is on to something, though. Maybe just sticking it out is half the battle. Now I know how tough I can be (as if five children couldn't tell me that).

  6. "The Uses of Adversity" by Calfred Broderick. Best essay ever. A copy of it can be found in his book "My Parents Married on a Dare." It's the last one. It's awesome. Plus, I think Julie posted a copy on Times and Seasons a while ago, so you can just search there. It talks about the uses of adversity are what we make of it, and often it is used to teach us about the relationship between us and God, and about who we are.

    3 kidneys????? Have they talked to you about, or would you ever consider, removing one for organ donation purposes? So many people need kidneys. Of course, having a kidney removed is SLIGHTLY harder than removing say, a hangnail, but still. Maybe you need all 3 to function? I've never heard of that.

    Anyway, good luck with the lessons.

  7. I just ran across your blog and your post really caught my attention because a few years ago I was passing my own stones. I passed several kidney stones and had to have temporary stents (sp?) put in so my kidneys could drain. At the time I was pregnant too, which only added to the discomfort and worry. My son had to be born early because of it all and just a few days after I delivered him, I had to have the Lithotripsey (sp?) procedure done to be able to pass more stones.
    Anyway…I remember feeling the same way. Wondering why on earth I had to go through this. What was I supposed to learn?
    I think the thing I learned the most was the concept of "opposition in all things." I never appreciated good health and a day without pain until I had experienced months of serious pain and discomfort. I think I also learned about empathy. There are mothers with chronic and life-threatening conditions and can't make it through the day without the help of others. I had to rely on the help of others a lot during that time to take care of myself and my family. I started to realize how lucky I was that my experience was only temporary.

  8. 9. Wow, I missed that.

    Just as I feel empathy for you, knowing that there may not be any pain in the world that equates that created by a tiny, little stone, someday you will run across a blog post about someone passing a kidney stone and be able to say, "I understand." As much as I sometimes really hate the fact that we have to go through things to learn lessons, I am grateful for the empathy that health issues have invited into my heart and life.

    I'm so glad you passed it. After I passed my first one, I walked around with a gallon jug of water that I would consume in day. Hmmmm…have I drunk any water today???….

    Angie…water. Drink water. 🙂

  9. I'm so sorry. I'm still laughing over your title in a post regarding kidney stones. And I'm empathizing with your plight.

    A couple of years ago I went in for a scope and came out with an ACL repair. Unless you've been through it, it's difficult to explain. Except to say the long recovery was one of the most difficult experiences I have ever lived.

    Now, years later, I still can't kneel because of the scar tissue and I am starting to experience some arthritis. But even on the worst days I would not change the pain for what I learned from the experience. Not for a moment.


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