I believe most of you would agree that we live in an interesting time. So much is going on, it’s often difficult to know what to focus on. One emotion that seems rampant during this current world-wide pandemic is fear. I see it on the faces of people I pass in grocery stores as they frantically search for needed items. I see it in the faces of experts on TV who think they know all about the financial world. And I see it in the faces of political leaders who worry about the future.
For the most part, I feel a sense of peace and a calming comfort. I’ve been asked by some why that is. My mother and I even discussed it a couple of days ago. I suspect it’s due in part because of other events we have survived in our lives—difficult trials that brought us to our knees. Foremost among them would be the tragic suicide death of my father years ago. Our entire world shattered in one day, and everything changed.
I experienced a similar change when we learned that I was a Type 1 diabetic, and I knew that for me, life would never be the same.
With the birth of each child, I faced a myriad of health challenges, and during my final pregnancy there were moments when it looked as though my unborn infant son and I might not make it. My blood pressure plummeted in a dangerous fashion, and my husband thought for certain all was lost. When I survived, and our son was later delivered healthy and alive, my doctor cried, held that precious boy out for all to see, and proclaimed his birth a miracle.
On another dark night, our entire valley experienced a loss of lives that would impact every community in our rural county. Once again hearts were shattered and some of us wondered how we would ever go on. Would we ever smile again and actually mean it?
I also remember a night that seemed so black, I thought for certain I would never survive. Heartbreaking news tore at my very soul and I silently cried out to our Father in heaven for solace. Solace came in such a dramatic fashion, I’ve never forgotten that experience. For several precious seconds, I felt as though the Savior was right there with me, an image of His loving face was impressed upon me, and the following words were seared into my heart: “Ye shall find comfort in me.” From that moment on, I knew I would be able to endure, and all would eventually be well.
I could go on and on, but I think I’ve made my point. Each one of us has survived hard things. We are stronger than we think we are. And we are never as alone as we sometimes believe.
A couple of mornings ago, I had an interesting experience. It was one of those character-building moments that I filed away in my heart, knowing that when I had the time, I would write something about it—it seems to be what I do.
We had been enduring several wintry storms in our valley, on top of the current health crisis that our world is facing. It wasn’t lifting anyone’s mood, and for those of us with arthritis, we’re beginning to feel like human pretzels.
On the morning in question, I needed to drive into town, four miles away, to pick up my mother. I am her primary care-taker, and we’ve been understandably trying to keep her safe and well during this Corona Virus scare. As such, my mother keeps a very low profile, but I do bring her out to our house a couple of times a week to give her a break from her apartment, and to help her with things like her laundry.
As I gazed outside, I wasn’t amused to see that it was a foggy mess. The fog was so thick, we couldn’t see our mailbox that sits across the road from our house. My husband expressed his concern over my plans to drive into town that morning. I felt certain I would be fine and I figured the fog wouldn’t be as thick when I made it down to the main road that led into nearby Montpelier. I was wrong.
The fog was thick everywhere. I made it safely to the main road, then paused in a state of indecision. I couldn’t tell if anything was coming either way. Highway 30 in our neck of the woods is a major thoroughfare. Truckers use it all the time to transfer goods throughout the area, and to reach other communities. Usually, during foggy conditions, you can see lights coming that reveal trucks or cars are traveling through. But not on that morning. On that morning, the thick fog shrouded everything in a blanket of mist. You couldn’t see headlights until they were nearly on top of you.
I offered a silent prayer, begging for guidance, for help to find my way safely to my destination. When I opened my eyes, again, all I could see was thick fog. But I felt a calm assurance that I was safe to pull out onto the road. Gathering my courage, I did just that, and I was fine. I didn’t travel as fast as I normally do, because of the limited visibility, and when I reached a road we call the 8th street exit, I signaled, not that anyone could see me, and turned off onto a route I knew was a safer option that morning. This road leads into the heart of Montpelier and I use it quite often when the weather is less than great in our area. It has a slower speed limit, and semi trucks don’t usually use it.
I continued on my way and gradually the fog began to thin until I could finally see where I was going. This was a vast improvement. By the time I reached Montpelier, the fog was dissipating. At first I wondered why. As I approached the town, the answer became very clear—the sun was making an appearance. As its bright light moved through the clouds, the fog lifted and I could see things very clearly. Breathing a sigh of relief, I drove safely to the apartment complex where my mother currently lives.
As the sun continued to shine, spreading warmth and light, I was hit with a major analogy. (No groaning—it’s what I do.) We all face dark times in our lives, moments when the fog of fear and despair clouds our sight. Discouragement fills our souls as we struggle to know which way to go. Our faith is truly tested when we struggle to move forward, uncertain of what lies ahead.
Lehi saw this uncertain path in a dream he recorded in the Book of Mormon. This inspired prophet shared that the only way to move forward through the mists of darkness was to cling to the iron rod. Only then could people find their way to the tree of life, or the love of God. (See Nephi 8:19-24; 11:25)
I can truly testify that when the need is great, our Savior is right there beside us, helping us to find our way through the mists of darkness that often cloud our path in life. His light can shine through the darkest night when we think all is lost. The warmth of His love cuts through the fog of despair and grief, helping us to find our way. And whenever we feel the need for comfort or guidance, we have but to pray, and to search the scriptures for answers. Those are my “go-tos” as a dear friend calls it, whenever life has been a challenge.
I keep a very worn triple combination close during foggy moments in my life. I have marked so many scriptures on those sacred pages, that it appears the entire book is marked. I have taken it with me when I travel, and it has helped me survive many dark nights. It has a sticker on the front. I placed it there the night my mother nearly passed away in a large hospital in Salt Lake following a major surgery. It simply says: “ER Visitor,” and it is stamped with the date, Sept. 29, 2005. I keep it there as a reminder of yet another trial we endured and survived.
The pages of this book not only contain scriptures that are comforting to me, but also notes of encouragement I have received through the years, as well as tiny artwork treasures made by my grandkids. Someday, it may be a precious keepsake for my posterity. I truly hope it will be. And I hope that during their dark days, my children and grandchildren will pause to reflect on the comfort this book can offer.
We can do hard things! We will survive the days ahead, no matter what they may bring. The Sun will eventually appear and disperse the dark mists of fear that cloud our vision, and we will grow and learn from this experience as we go on, knowing there will be brighter days in store.