A Testimony of Trials
The other day I was reminded about something that happened in my life quite a few years ago. I realized I hadn't thought about in a while even though it was a very significant event that changed my life forever. It was something that at the time I felt lost about, sad, and confused; but it helped develop a testimony that would anchor me and help me through anything and everything for the years to come. I remember the morning perfectly. I think it was March and I was ending my eighth grade year in school. We were on the second to last day of our spring break and about 4 months away from going home to Utah from our 3 year mission in Washington. Things were finally going well in school, we had just watched General Conference, and I was feeling excited that our time on our mission was coming to a close. I woke up that morning feeling happier than I had in a while. With the excitement of the movers coming that day to count how many boxes their would need to be to pack, I decided to make a paper chain countdown, (it was a long paper chain). After I spent a while making the paper chain I went downstairs and started cleaning the kitchen so I could make myself a nice big breakfast. It was a beautiful day. Spring was beginning to take shape and the sun was shining so bright making all the trees and grass look extra green, giving it almost a glistening effect because of the dew. Now my memory of this is quite vivid because I can remember exactly what I was doing when my mom walking in. I was straightening a pillow on the couch as I was taken back when I could tell by my mom's voice that she had been crying. I turned around as she told me to stay there because she was going to wake everyone else up so she and my dad could tell me something. I can't remember this part perfectly, but I think it was when I saw my dad walk by with tears in his eyes that made me really nervous. I had only seen him cry a hand full of times in my life, if that even. My heart was pounding and I was filled with curiosity as to what was going on. Michael and Mary came down the stairs and we waited with my mom for my dad to enter the room so they could tell us the news. Seth was on a one week mission at the time and Katie was at college. I remember sitting on the floor on the same pillow I was straightening only minutes before and I couldn't stop fidgeting. My dad came in and sat near me. I couldn't tell you exactly what my parents said and how they said it. I just remember my mind trying to slowly piece together everything they had said and make sense of it. Cancer can come with a lot of big ugly words that don't make sense and don't let you understand the full gravity of the situation until you actually hear the word 'cancer'. My dad explained how Seth and him had wrestled and how when it hurt his back he got it checked out, but something unexpected came up in the scans. It was a type of cancer called 'lymphoma' that was a tumor about the size of a nerf football in his abdomen. I remember my parents having to explain how serious it was as I had never really known anyone with cancer and what all the things meant. Even then, I still don't think I fully understood everything. My mom explained how we would be moving back to Utah immediately so dad could get treatment. By immediately she meant that Monday, (it was a Friday). Originally they said if we wanted we could stay and finish out the school year if we wanted. Then they decided that we would should just come back to Utah with them, which I was glad they made the decision for us because I couldn't quite process it. The rest of the day was sort of a blur. The only thing I really remember was being in Mary's room for an hour pacing back and forth crying while I tried talking it out out loud to her and myself. Then I had to go into my room because she wanted to understandably be alone, so I began to pack in unbelief, first ripping the paper chain I had made that morning off the wall. Those last few days in Washington were busy as we tried to get everything ready to go. Although they were busy I think we all had the feeling that things were just so surreal. I remember calling my best friend Krista and telling her that I would be able to make it to her birthday after all as it was going to be the first Saturday we were back in Utah. I called some other friends letting them know the situation, some from Utah, some from Washington. A few came over after church, being the day before we left. I remember that last Sunday being a very good day. It was Easter Sunday. I remember it being filled with joy as I was able to say goodbye to some of my closest friends in Washington sharing memories and making some last new ones. Seth had some of his friends over as well. It was as if for a moment the sadness of the situation was gone. The next day, that Monday we were supposed to be coming back to school from spring break, Mary and I got ready for what we be our last day in Washington. We were going to ride the school bus to school one last time so we could be with some of our friends and then take care of taking our books back, telling our teachers, and then our mom was going to pick us up. I remember feeling fine, but a little nervous that morning up until my dad said the prayer before we left for school. As he said it I remember he began to cry and it made me cry. We got to school and Mary went her way and I went mine. I began finding my friends one by one and telling them that would be the last time I would see them. I cried harder and harder when I told each friend as it seemed to drill into my mind the reality of the situation further and further. I told my teachers and each was extremely kind and compassionate. Then it was time to go. We left from school and headed straight to Utah not knowing what awaited. At first things were scary as I didn't know what would happen with my dad. As time went on though, you could feel the power of the prayers and the people fasting for my dad and our family. The Lord's hand was so apparent. Although this event is something that a lot of people would probably consider a bit traumatic for a 14 year old girl, it is something I wouldn't trade for anything. It taught me so much and I gained a testimony of trials and how they can in fact bless our lives. As my life has progressed I have been able to see the Lord's hand in everything, through the good and the bad, and I feel like I owe a lot of it to that particular experience. I know it taught each member of my family something different. It is such a miracle to see my dad completely healed today with not a trace of cancer in his body. Their is no denying the Lord had a hand in that. It is so easy to look at our experiences in life that may be considered bad and let them drag you down. The trick is to take that experience and see what you can learn from it and how it can help you grow. The Lord is always waiting to help us, we just need to have faith and turn it over to Him.