Sunday, May 26, 2013

Ground Between the Millstones

I debated for a long time before I actually decided to write this post. It isn't incredibly insightful, uplifting, or thoughtful and I wanted people to be inspired, uplifted, or leave my blog with a thoughtful message when they visited. I think it's important to be honest and real with myself and others though. Life isn't always perfect and happy, and nothing drives me crazier than when people act like it is. There are always things I am grateful for, but that doesn't mean struggles and trials don't abound. I decided to pen this post because I wanted to come across as human. A lot of what I'll be writing will be inspired moments I experienced, but that doesn't mean I live a carefree life. I experience heartache, sorrow, sadness, and confusion intermixed with gratitude, happiness, excitement, peace, and confidence. Life is like trail mix--a lot of deliciousness with a few stupid raisins.

Sometimes I feel forgotten. Sometimes I feel alone. And sometimes I feel like my mediocrity lowers my value. Truly, how much can one average 22 year old girl do? I may influence a few people's lives for the better, but it's unlikely that I'll ever be an Anne Frank, Eleanor Roosevelt, or Susan B. Anthony. I find myself getting frustrated because so many girls my age in my culture are married and starting families. They're making a valuable contribution to society while I'm just hanging out, doing nothing meaningful with my life--if I'm not meant to be married right now I should at least be saving the world or something. Sometimes I think I could go on a mission, but then I remember I wouldn't be a great missionary and ultimately I probably wouldn't contribute a net gain of goodness to the world compared to if I just continued doing what I'm already doing.

Sometimes I just feel stuck. Like I'm in a basketball game and I just keep pivoting, hoping to find someone to pass the ball to. But there isn't anyone on my team around to help me. Everyone is in the locker room and the other team has crowded me and I can't shoot and have no one to pass to and am just stuck. Moving in a circle with one foot planted in the same spot. Not helping myself or anybody else. Futilely wasting energy trying to solve the problem and score a few points while I wait for the clock to run out of time. It's maddening! Who wants to just waste time waiting for the clock to run out? That's why I'm frustrated. I'm not someone who is content just waiting for the game to end. I want to contribute to the game. I want to contribute to the win. I want to win. I want to be Anne Frank, Eleanor Roosevelt, or Susan B. Anthony, but I don't know how.

I don't have any answers or insights. Tonight I just have frustrations. I just think it's important to know that you can have faith and still have days when you're not happy. Being faithful and striving to be a better disciple of Christ doesn't mean you'll pass each day in complete bliss. A quote from David A. Bednar comes to mind though,

"I do not know why some people learn the lessons of eternity through trial and suffering—while others learn similar lessons through rescue and healing."

He doesn't know, and I don't know. But I am learning something. Hopefully someday I can understand why I learn the lessons of eternity through trial and suffering instead of through rescue and healing. Elder Bednar quoted Elder Orson F. Whitney in the same talk that the previous quote came from,

“No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude and humility. All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called the children of God … and it is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that we gain the education that we come here to acquire” (quoted in Spencer W. Kimball, Faith Precedes the Miracle [1972], 98).

At least I know that crying on my bedroom floor (because crying on your bedroom floor is more fulfilling than crying on your bed) is contributing to my education. Life is hard and far too often I think people try and tell you that as long as you pray, go to church, read your scriptures, etc. that it won't be hard and that you'll always be happy. I'm here to tell you that I do all of those things (heck, I did all of them TODAY) and I'm not happy at the moment. I think what people mean to say is that if you pray, go to church, read your scriptures, etc. then you'll at least know your trials and suffering are happening for a reason. That you're being ground between the millstones for a purpose; to become stronger. To be educated. Earth is just a school. We're all learning how to be eternal beings and that requires more than we imagine.