In the past month or so since I posted this post I have received an outpouring of love and support that I could not have imagined - little chance things coming in my way like pennies from heaven, or like rain in a desert. Thank you.
Twice blessed is help unlooked for.
- Eomer, The Lord of the Rings
I have received cards in the mail, emails and texts and loving arms around me as I've struggled the past few months (and admittedly, still struggle). Each one is a thread of friendship and solidarity that I've so needed, but didn't think could - what - deserve?
I asked for God's help, and He sent me you. Asked Him for help in the long road that seems this year to be so much darker than it has before, and I find hands extended and feet ready to walk the path with me. I can't ever be grateful enough for that.
When Joseph Smith was in prison in Liberty, Missouri (certainly far less comfortable quarters than my sunny second-floor home office where I'm writing this), he wrote a call-and-answer style prayer which I find so moving. He begins by asking, "O God, where art thou, and where is the pavilion that covereth thy hiding place?"
And this in reply, from the mouth of God to his faithful prophet, and from there to me:
7 My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;
8 And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.
9 Thy friends do stand by thee, and they shall hail thee again with warm hearts and friendly hands.
Last week we held our annual meet-up, lovingly dubbed "Spraguefest" in Atlanta. We've been meeting together every year since 2007 - sometimes only 15 people, sometimes 100. We've met in good times and bad, in Chicago and Utah and Las Vegas and Minnesota and Georgia. I have no doubt we'll keep meeting every year until forever, because it is good for our souls. I know it is good for mine.
Last week these friends (some of whom have been to every Spraguefest since the beginning) hailed me again with warm hearts and friendly hands, and over the past month hands and hearts have been extended in ways I never looked for.
Of course, I am still kind of a mess. The process is both physical and mental - and sometimes the pain no one can see is worse. Sometimes I begin to lose hope that I'll ever get "fighting fit" again. But even small victories are victories still, I need to remember that.
And I will admit to ugly-crying through this sermon from Jeffrey R. Holland, which was delivered during the LDS General Conference the first week in October, but which I didn't see until our hotel room in Atlanta (sorry, team!) If you have ever dealt with, or love someone with a mental or emotional illness - or an illness that has mental or emotional components, grab some tissues and watch this, ok?
And here is a great quote from that same sermon:
There's a lot I still don't know about what's next (and I will admit to not being very comfortable with a ton of uncertainty. An outline! A sketch! A drawing on a napkin! Anything!). But even without a map - or perhaps more accurately because I am without a map, I am so much more grateful for your kindness and love. Thank you.