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Archive for the ‘hard things’ Category

I’ve always liked Robert Frost’s The Road Not Taken


Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

I have viewed the traveler in this poem as having the choice of which road he picked, but as we are at a crossroads that leaves us very little choice I wonder if the traveler chose the road less traveled by or if that choice was made for him and he just went with it.  Not much of my life has been text book anything, and most days I’m okay with my road.  I am very grateful that pancreatic cancer is something that not everyone gets to experience up close and personal, from the initial breath stealing fear to people wondering why they weren’t told sooner when we waited to tell until our minds were wrapped around what was going on and we could breath to seeing the look of pity and fear on people’s face when they ask “Oh what kind of cancer?” and the only thing that comes out of their mouth is “oh, that’s a bad one”

I never chose this road less traveled by.

I don’t know how it will make all the difference, but I have the faith that it will.  There are lessons to be learned somewhere along this journey of mine and I believe I will come out on the other side a better version of me.  It’s just a bit rocky and hard to travel on this road less traveled by.

As far as an update, Neil is done with his first cycle of folfirinox and has had repeat MRI, CT and PET scans.  He has had an amazing response to the chemo and his tumor has shrunk away from the vessels that were so problematic and had him not being a good surgical candidate.  We’ve talked to two oncology surgeons who both do lots of pancreatic surgeries.  We initially thought he’d be looking at a whipple surgery but more good news is he needs a distal pancreatectomy and splenectomy so less rerouting of his guts.  He will lose about 80% of his pancreas (neck, body, and tail will all be gone) and his spleen.  He received a bunch of immunizations today in preparation for not having a spleen (he will be more susceptible to infections for the rest of his life).  His surgeon mentioned that his PET scan looks so good that he only pulls out dead tumor when he gets in there because of his great response to  his chemo regimen.

A picture is worth a thousand words (I struggled getting them rotated, so tip your head to the left), the first image is Neil’s CT from April.  The tumor is circled in blue pen marked with a T.  There is a small portion of the atrophying tail of the pancreas showing as well.

Neil’s CT from April

 This second picture shows his pancreas and the tumor as it is now (again, circled in hard to see pen)  This area didn’t “light up” on his PET scan which is good, possibility that the tumor is completely dead.  When a PET scan shows a malignancy it “lights up” like googled image.

Neil’s current CT

 Neil also had an old CT from 2009 showing a healthy pancreas.  Comparing the healthy pancreas to now it’s easy to see how atrophied it has become.  All of that useless pancreas and his spleen will soon be gone with hopes that the head of his pancreas is able to make enough insulin and digestive enzymes.  Insulin and Creon isn’t fun, but is very doable if we can rid of the tumor.

An old CT of Neil’s from 2009 with a healthy pancreas

We are on an upswing right now, feeling good about the way things are going but I know this is a rocky path not a lazy stroll down a dirt path lined with wildflowers and things will get harder again.  For now I’m enjoying Neil not hurting and not being sick from chemo.  We took an extra day out of town to have some much needed downtime and reconnect.

Heather and Neil at the aquarium

I do want to thank all of our family, friends, work families, neighbors who have been praying for Neil and cheering him on.  Prayers, cookies, messages of hope, coloring books and so much more have all been appreciated and they really have made a difference to us.

~Heather

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It’s never what I expect, and today is no exception.  I miss 2nd ward traditions, I wanted to see our little Primary singing, etc.  Our new ward is starting to feel less strange, but I still miss our old ward.  It’s apparently about a 4 year long recovery time and we are 4 weeks in.  I’ll make it.

They did something today that I liked and have been thinking about all week, trying to gather my thoughts.  Sharing our favorite hymn with a short why.  Like many of my other favorites, context matters but all week I’ve been thinking of “A Child’s Prayer”

Rules were simple, a 1 minute “why” and from the hymn book.  I had managed to write down a why that was condensed and photocopied the song from the Children’s Song Book.  Both rules circumvented, but it was very busy and I still feel a bit guarded {unless I’m spilling all of my inner thoughts on here} so I didn’t get a chance to share, hence being here.  The song is above, with scenes from Cokeville Miracle {great movie by the way} Here is my “why”

Spring of 2013 I was dealing with The Very Hardest of Hard Things and was very traumatized.  Up didn’t seem like up and for a week or so I was surprised each morning when the sun came up.  I had no grasp on reality, but I knew that Christ knew me personally and believe that his heart ached with mine.  I’d had a priesthood blessing from my Bishop and I know he cared, but I felt very alone and very scared.  My prayers had very few words, lots of sobs and tears filled with emotions that there aren’t words in the English language to describe.  I’m not certain how that week ever ended, but it did as the Hard Things continued to pour forth.  I acutely felt the lack of priesthood guidance in my home, as well as a partner or helpmate to get me through.

A few weeks after that very first night was General Conference.  I remember so many details of that conference, the feeling of the blanket on my lap, my snacks, the smell of breakfast, my little TV with crappy signal, the pajamas I was wearing.  Boyd K Packer gave his talk These Things I Know and in that talk are two great truths I needed to understand.

I have come to know that faith is a real power, not just an expression of belief. There are few things more powerful than the faithful prayers of a righteous mother.

Up until then I’d thought of faith as a feeling or emotion, not a power in itself and I discredited the power behind my wordless prayers that went straight from my heart towards heaven bypassing my mouth entirely. I knew God didn’t answer my prayers how I had planned but I believed that yes, he does answer every child’s prayer.  I don’t remember anything else that conference, just that I was going to be okay.  I was fine on my own {fine is a relative term} and that my faith had power behind it, not just warm feel goods.  We were going to get through

Things are different now, We are dealing with Hard Things 3: Cancer, Again. instead of  Hard Things 2:  The Very Hardest of Hard Things  The kids are older (easier and harder all at the same time) and I’m not alone (but at times I still feel very lonely and afraid) and in some ways they are the same.  That first week feels like an alternative reality, and I’m not certain how it ended.  I’m not sure what I’m suppose to learn this time, but I’d like to learn it so we can move on to a chapter I’d like to call After Hard Things Life is Grand but I don’t know that my life gets that chapter, so I’m working on finding grand things in the midst of Hard Things.  Life feels very uncertain for me right now, but I know Christ understands me, and he knows what it’s like when I’m paralyzed with fear and uncertainty.  God does answer every child’s prayer, and not just all those other prayers but my prayers too.  I believe in the power of believing.  What I wish I knew is where all of that is going to leave me, but for tonight I pray in sobs of uncertainty and fear knowing that there is power in that prayer.

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We went on Trek to Martin’s Cove and Rock Creek Hollow end of June and first part of July.  I’ve been before.  4 years ago we went on a youth trek through Kiabab forest ending overlooking the Grand Canyon.  When Michael was a baby our Ward went, so 14 years ago or so.  Every time I have not been able to write about the experience to a level equal with the intensity of the week.  I expect this time to be similar, and I have no idea how to even proceed, but I go back to work tomorrow so I’m trying to get something down for now.

The History

This is where I will fail miserably.  Click here for another account.  Fire and the Covenant is a historical fiction novel written about the handcart companies, and Follow Me to Zion is a collection of journal entries and stories.  A quick search on amazon has several books listed.
In 1856 Brigham Young authorized LDS saints to travel to Utah by handcart.  They had started the perpetual emigration fund to help gather the saints in Zion and using handcarts could gather 10 saints for every 1 by wagon train.  The first 4 handcart companies (about 500 people each) had made the long trip successfully.  Traveled by ship to either Boston or New York and then by train to Florence, Nebraska.  In Florence they built handcarts and sewed tents for the journey.  These saints were not frontiersmen nor had they been trained for the journey ahead of them.  They did have the faith to do whatever was required of them.  They started late in the season and had several set backs to getting started.  They were allowed 17 pounds of belongings.  
As they came through Wyoming they were hit with a harsh winter storm and they had been on reduced rations already.  The Martin Company along with Hunt and Hodgett Wagon companies (about 1100 people) took shelter in Martin’s Cove and the Willie Company took shelter at Rock Creek Hollow being 100 miles ahead of the Martin Company.  When Brigham Young heard that there were saints out in the storm he said “go and bring them in” sending out rescue parties and supplies.  

The Stories

The stories are endless, and I could talk forever about the ones I know, what they taught me and what I hope to never forget.
Francis Webster (He settled in Cedar)
In a Sunday School class the teacher was being harsh and critical of the handcart companies coming so late in the season and Francis Webster was sitting in the class and said 

 ‘I ask you to stop this criticism. You are discussing a matter you know nothing about. Cold historic facts mean nothing here, for they give no proper interpretation of the questions involved. Mistake to send the Handcart Company out so late in the season? Yes. But I was in that company and my wife was in it and Sister Nellie Unthank whom you have cited was there, too. We suffered beyond anything you can imagine and many died of exposure and starvation, but did you ever hear a survivor of that company utter a word of criticism? …“‘I have pulled my handcart when I was so weak and weary from illness and lack of food that I could hardly put one foot ahead of the other. I have looked ahead and seen a patch of sand or a hill slope and I have said, I can go only that far and there I must give up, for I cannot pull the load through it.’”He continues: “‘I have gone on to that sand and when I reached it, the cart began pushing me. I have looked back many times to see who was pushing my cart, but my eyes saw no one. I knew then that the angels of God were there.“‘Was I sorry that I chose to come by handcart? No. Neither then nor any minute of my life since. The price we paid to become acquainted with God was a privilege to pay, and I am thankful that I was privileged to come in the Martin Handcart Company.’” 

After my hardest of Hard Things I’ve often thought this Hard Thing is my price, and I have become better acquainted with God.  The second part I am eternally grateful for.

Ann Jewel Rowley

She’s my ancestor, was part of the Willie Handcart company and best known for the sea biscuits in the Dutch Oven as portrayed in 17 Miracles.  She’s one of my favorites because she came across a a single Mom bringing 7 kids.  “If Ann Jewel can do that, I can manage kids schedules, work, school, and the house” got me through days I didn’t think I could go on any farther.

Samuel Rowley

I learned this time that after being part of the Willie company he was later called on a mission to settle San Juan.  He was in the first group that went through Hole In the Rock.  Not only can we do Hard Thing, but can do multiple Hard Things.  I can’t think of anyone who would say that was ‘fair’ but he was called and he went.  He never complained.

Trek 2015

Pre-trek: Sewing, sewing, and more sewing. Packed in 5 gallon buckets and gathered epi-pens, inhalers, first aid supplies, portable nebulizers, last minute tent crew stuff. 


Day 1:  We left the Stake Center at 5 am (well, we were suppose to) and most people loaded onto tour buses, significantly different than the train ride in crowded train cars being threatened as they passed through towns.  Neil and I were fortunate enough to be able to ride with Benson’s.  We drove, what seemed like forever through empty Wyoming plains to arrive at Martin’s Cove.  Neil at the last minute was put on tent crew (the second tent set up didn’t go so well, due to some lack of miscommunication/knowledge/information) and in minutes it went from raining and blowing while setting up tents to heat, sticky humidity, and mosquitoes.  

Bishop Heap spoke at a fireside, everyone was clean and fresh.  We were well fed (the entire Trek we had plenty of good food) and then the adults worked on getting the kids to go to sleep.  Michael and Dallin caught rabbits and went looking for rattlesnakes.  ‘oy.
Fitbit has me at about 12,000 steps.  Most of it from tent set up I’m certain.
Day 2:  Breakfast at 7 am to load the buses at 8.  Breakfast was great — biscuits and gravy with delicious sausage patties and we were on time, much to my surprise.  They broke the stake up into two main groups (orange flag and a red, white, and blue flag loaded onto the front carts)  We also divided medical staff so that 3 of us were the 9 families and 4 of us were with 10 families.  All of the kids except Kaede were in my group.  Later I wished I’d been there to watch her closer.  Reminders to start drinking.
They told us stories of Dan Jones and trying to eat hide glue then took us to the chapel where they played this video.

That video was my moment (along with the fireside the night before)  I wasn’t worried about people being dehydrated yet, I wasn’t dehydrated, only 1 minor injury and no sore feet.  
From the visitors center we walked towards the Sweetwater River crossing.  Lots of reminding people to drink and then drink some more.  I want to go back in the winter.  When the pioneers crossed there were chunks of ice floating down the river and we looked forward to the relief from the heat.  Later in the day when we crossed on the bridge I paused for a second and tried to imagine the green banks covered in ice and snow and the wind blowing bitter cold instead of like a furnace blower and my mind can’t make that connection.  Crossing the Sweetwater is Holy ground.  There was reverence, tears, and beautiful violin music.  Shortly after the Sweetwater we stopped at some statues.  I can’t tell you much about them because I was busy doing medical stuff, inhalers, sick kids, and reminding people to drink some more.  From the statues it was a short walk to lunch.  Shade, cool water, and food. 
At this point all is going well, most people are drinking well and the rest from the scorching sun was appreciated.  Just above the cart parking/pavilion is Martin’s Cove.  There are no handcarts and no water in the cove.  Along the path to the cove is Dan Jones amphitheater where we stopped again.  Both groups are together at this point and Kaede finds me to walk with me.  She’s red and not sweating and “can’t find” her water bottle so she has a little 16 oz bottle that she’s not drinking.  I ask her to drink and she keeps talking.  I asked if she has been drinking and she said no, I’ve been too busy pushing (and most likely talking) so I hand her my full water bottle and have her drink it and she perks up a little and starts sweating again.  I’d forgotten how long it is around Martin’s Cove and have never been in the middle of the day.  Kaede drinks all of our water and rests at the top of the cove in the shade.  I pause for a moment and try to imagine 1100 people laying underneath canvas from their tents and wish just for a moment that I could feel -10.  At the top I realize Neil still has water and try to ration it between the 3 of us the rest of the way down.  
Once I get back to cart parking I drink water like crazy, alternating water and gatorade.  By crazy I mean 2 L.  I keep drinking and feeling increasingly tired and hot.  I don’t know if my feet hurt because I don’t care.  The Women’s Pull left me in tears, and I didn’t even pull or push — I promised myself  I’d be kind to my back.  We had 2 girl in rickshaws in our group and we got all 9 handcarts, 2 rickshaws up with “women can do hard things” pushing.  At the top the guys were silent, hats removed out of respect with tears on many faces.  Bishop Heap once again did an amazing job talking to our boys.
From the women’s pull you can see camp in the distance.  In camp is my bucket, shade from a tent, and food.  Once we got to camp I sat down in the shade of the Bishop’s tent.  Dude continues to comment on how wonderful I don’t look and has my every need taken care of by others.  As the night goes on and I keep drinking and feeling worse I actually ended up with an IV laying in front of our tent–the point I started to get nauseated I knew that all the water I’d been drinking was not enough.  
In a heartbeat I’d do the same thing again, give my water up for my children–any of us would.  I knew it wouldn’t be a long term problem.  I can’t imagine what it was like seeing kids going hungry knowing that you had to eat too, or you wouldn’t survive.  At one point rations were cut to 4 oz of flour for the day.  There wasn’t endless food just ahead like I had water, they had no idea where their next food would come from.
Fitbit: 23,000+ steps
Day 3: I spent in the visitors center at Rock Creek with a couple of youth not well enough to trek.  Long day, lots of water, reading, and a flushing toilet.  Tents were not set up because Dude and I thought we’d be hanging out with the non-trekkers at our camp site so we sent Neil on trek.  The missionaries were confused about where we were camping and so there was nothing to do but hustle to get the tents up when everyone got to Rock Creek Hollow.  

That night we camped at Rock Creek Hollow, had the most beautiful testimony meeting I’ve ever witnessed followed by strawberry shortcake.

Day 4: I refer to day 4 as “gratitude for Benson’s day”  The young beehives sang, clapped, laughed the entire way home.  There was no rest, no sleeping, no quiet.  The bus seats were comfortable for about 40 minutes until my back started to complain.  We were all home, showered, and in bed by midnight.

Post-Trek:  My backyard has been tent city since trek.  The day we broke camp the tents were all very wet so we set them back up to dry them out and just as they’d get almost dry a thunderstorm would roll through.  Tents are all down now, one still draped across to dry and we are back to “live as normal”  I wish I knew how to keep the lessons learned during these glimpses into our past to help us re prioritize, strengthen our resolve but I don’t.
Getting to the Salt Lake Valley was important to the pioneers so they could be sealed as a family in the Endowment House.  Getting those temple blessings were so important to them that they gave all they had to have the opportunity and they were grateful for the experience.  I hope my resolve and priorities can be as set as theirs.
~Heather
p.s. A few more pictures to come, but not many as we were electronics free and I didn’t bring my camera. 


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***This was suppose to be posted March 26, but as usual life got in the way***

I love spring, the flowers, my birthday, the hope of longer days after the short days of winter, Easter, picnics, yard work and sunshine.  There is so much that is very renewing about Spring, it seems as if each day comes with it’s own dose of hope.  Some of my hardest things have start dates in Spring, some bitter to help me appreciate the sweet.  Today I was sitting in the car thinking for a moment about not just Hard Things, but my very hardest of all the hard things and I realized how overwhelmingly grateful I am for the atonement.  The rest of this post may seem vague, but it’s intentionally vague.  This isn’t about how I dealt with my very specific Hard Things, it’s about Hard Things in general.  We all have them, they all look different, and what is hard to one person may be easy to their neighbor.  This isn’t about comparing my life to yours, or your neighbors, or your uncle’s dog’s breeder’s neighbor who had something sort of similar (but not really) happen.

The opportunity the atonement gives to repent of  sins and poor choices is invaluable and completely necessary for everyone.  It’s taught through various denominations of Christianity starting at very young ages.  It’s outlined in steps during Primary Sharing Times and Family Home Evenings and follows an easy format (easy in listing the steps, more difficult in applying the principle into your life)

Today I’m most grateful for the “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you restfrom Matthew 11:30.  It’s less concrete to me, I’ve not found a list of steps to take to get that rest.  In fact there have been times in my life when I’ve been doing everything I’m suppose to very well scriptures, prayer, pondering (lots and lots of pondering), attending Sunday meetings and carrying the Spirit with me throughout the week but the Savior didn’t come and take my burdens away from me because I held onto them with all of my Erickson stubbornness.  I benefited greatly from those habits and often felt at peace but things were still hard. I didn’t see how to let go of my burdens and I was only dealing with Hard Things, not the smothering very hardest of all the hard things.

I don’t know that there is a set format to turn over a heavy load to the Savior, but it is possible.  It took time, patience, following some very specific advice, and lots of faith.  I still had to do all the same things but the overwhelming weight of everything was gone, almost as if I’d grown stronger but I hadn’t.  I had learned to rely on the Savior and trust that everything was going to be okay — whatever okay meant.

For that extra strength I am deeply grateful.  That when my world was shattered I could still find up, I knew that somehow I could get through even if it took my entire life I could do it, for the ability to repent of all my mistakes and the knowledge that there is so much more to the atonement than I can understand at this point in my life.


Spring Blossoms on my crab apple tree

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With the exception of school, I’ve written for me and not anyone else.  It helps me process my thoughts and feelings and come out with an improved perspective or action plan.  I’ve never had to worry about my ‘audience’ because I don’t really have one.  I’ve never cared about “how to get people to read your blog” type information since this blog is entirely self centered around what I need.  I simply publish it because I want to (see, self centered again)  I’ve never worried when I’ve had writers block because I don’t have deadlines or publishers and my family being able to eat isn’t dependent on my words being marketable.  If I have writer’s block I just don’t write, I will go for a walk or sit in the sunshine.  The past few weeks has been the opposite of writer’s block — it’s like I’m in a storm of words, thoughts and things I want to share with you.

I’m taking on a self assigned task of writing about Hard Things.  I started with Freshman English guidelines.  Why am I doing this? Who is my audience? What is my purpose? How do I want to get there.  I’ve never objected to writing papers for a grade but the writing I do for me is this blog and my journal and much less organized than Hard Things (not my end title, just my current reference) In writing I’m feeling emotions from the last two years resurfacing with great force, without the numbing effect of shock.  It leaves me wanting to blog about things, but oh so many things all at the same time.  How amazing my life is, the power of having good friends, the strengthening ability of the sunshine on my face, praying that this non-winter we are having has a minimal impact this summer and that my flowers coming up don’t die, how my back is doing, plans for the yard and oh so much more.  My brain seems like Kaede after a busy day at school and 10,000 thoughts coming out all at once.  Maybe I need an assignment so I can focus my thoughts a little?  It could be that I’ve been neglecting my blog and I’m trying to catch up like a short visit with a friend you haven’t seen in years.

I looked back over my last few posts and realized how far apart they are and that there really isn’t any update after the wedding I will share a few pictures with you.  These are from Mom’s camera and I’m leaving out the shots of her skirt, thumb and the ceiling at the church.  The day was absolutely perfect and I wouldn’t change anything about it if I could.  Life as a new family afterwards has been even better and I acknowledge the impact my friends have had in my life and that I would never have been in the place I needed to be to have the blessings in my life I enjoy every day if it wasn’t for their kindness and strength on the very worst of days.  As I think back to my wedding day and on my joy and the peace in my life I always take a moment to thank my Heavenly Father for my friends and family.  They’ve been miracle workers in my life and answers to many prayers.

Going from getting married to blending families, budgets, homework, Christmas concerts all in a whisper of time is different than I ever imagined.  It makes sense, all the time that newlywed couples get together and alone is different for us.  Most nights we have kids, homework, broken arms, etc and it would be so easy to neglect one another.  So easy it seems natural.  I am very fortunate that we have made a promise to each other to make time for us, not just date nights (although I love them) but using each moment we have.  I love you Neil.

Pictures from Mom, SOOC.

Summer (pre-wedding) trip to the cabin.  This is what happens when the ropes to the swing need to be replaced.

Swinging, Tarzan style

Yes, it’s very fuzzy.  I don’t care.

Michael’s turn.

Neil.  I love him.

Aren’t they the greatest?

Less fuzzy, still swinging.

Wedding wonderfulness 🙂

Gary and Holden (Tasha in the background, probably making sure Uncle Gary doesn’t teach him any undesirable tricks) 

Kaede

Ryker and Aunalee

half of Grandma (I wonder who is holding the camera?) Grandpa and two of his boys and Terry

I wish I knew what he was thinking

Terry and Holden

Kaede, Ryker, and Charlet

Me and Dad.  A few seconds before this I realized I left bouquet elsewhere

floor perspective of the ceremony

Neil, Ryker’s arm, and Michael

My boys

more ceremony

First Kiss

I love him

I have no idea what I’m doing, obviously not paying attention to the camera…

Us

Kaylee’s beautiful lettering.  I’m jealous of her talent.

Food! Family! Friends!

Ryker and Charlet playing “A Thousand Years”

Four generations

Feeding Grant, because feeding babies is awesome!

Jaron, Mina, and Grant

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We had our first snow storm of the year on Sunday and I was without power (and therefore heat) for nearly 24 hours. During daylight I enjoyed sitting by the fire cuddled up to Neil but as it started to get dark and crews were without an estimated repair time I worried and the novelty of hunkering down for the storm grew weary. 
The storms that bring us moisture are so necessary in this region.  They allow the fields and crops to grow, my flowers to bloom, and quench the thirsty earth. Often they are inconvenient, poorly timed, messy, ruin my hair, and cancel fun plans. Vital but not necessarily fun. 
Storms of life are similar. I’m at a point that I can sincerely say I’m grateful for the things I’ve learned through my storms and Hard Times. The storms were inconvenient, poorly timed, messy, ruined many cute hair days, and I’ve had to cancel many fun plans. Vital for me learn of my own strength, to grow my own testimony, to learn humility and perspective while drawing closer to Christ. Vital but decidedly not fun. 
~Heather

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This has been weighing on my mind lately, partially from going to Girl’s Camp with the Young Women, talking to others who either have or are struggling and thinking back myself on my Hard Things.  We often hear “…the worth of souls is great in the sight of God” (D&C 18:10) and I’ve spent much of my life applying that to most people, but not all.  Those who make choices with disastrous consequences are easy to write off, discuss in break rooms in gory detail what should happen to them because of their choices.  It’s easy to side with the victims and their families that are sometimes harmed by the situation.  From preschool we are taught to despise the villain, cheer for the hero, and have sympathy for the victim.  End of story time.

The scripture doesn’t qualify which souls are of worth though.  Not the worth of souls who attend church weekly is great in the sight of God, not the worth of souls who smile at strangers, not the worth of souls that humanity deems worthy.  the worth of souls.  Period.  No qualifications necessary to be worthy.  The teenager going through bullying at school, those doing the bullying, the mother trying her hardest to do her best, as well as the mother who has lost her child to protective services because of her choices.  It extends even beyond that, to individuals generally considered “evil” by most of the world.

I’ve decided that the worth of souls is great to me too.  It’s not always easy to see, depending on circumstances and it’s often hard to see when looking at the tired face looking back at the mirror thinking of everything that was done less than perfect.  If we could look beyond the baggy eyes, past the tired that made it so Cheerios were served for dinner, and see into our soul and the greatness within I think our spirits would be lifted.  I like the song “You Are More” from Tenth Avenue North and the chorus resonates with me.

You are more than the choices that you’ve made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create

I am more. You are more.  The stranger on the street that just yelled at you is more. More than you can imagine, more than today’s troubles seem (even when it’s one of “those” days when it feels like you can barely breath.  I am of great worth just as each of us is.  Please, if you can’t see it in yourself find someone to help you find it because I promise you are more and I know it’s hard to see.  I’ve been where I can’t imagine more let alone see it.  My vision began and ended with less, but it got better.  Amazing people were there to help me through Hard Things, there are people out there who believe in you no matter what.  I’ve met them, talked with them, and know that to them the worth of souls is great too, and they spend their time and efforts helping others believe in themselves.  

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