Thursday, November 20, 2014

Good Things Are Going to Happen

"Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the Lord."- Psalm 27:14

Yesterday was a terrible day. I got home from work, walked straight into my roommates room, immediately sat on her bed, and sighed. Her reply was, "You are having a bad day too? I think it is a universally crappy day." There might have been a few sympathy tears shed, a whole bunch more sighing, a little more than a little yelling at life, and absolute confusion about the future. I left her room feeling worse than before. Misery loves company, but misery + misery = even more misery. That was the moment I decided that I needed to write this post.
Everyone has "crappy days". Some are worse than others, but none are fun. Sometimes these days turn into weeks, into months, into years. It almost feels like you just can never catch a break, right? And you notice that your hope slips away a little more each day. It almost happens without our even noticing. We tend to blame our situations for taking our hope from us and leaving us feeling worthless, alone, and utterly sad. But the truth is that it is our fault that we feel this way. Because when YOU give up hope, YOU give up your happiness. It is your choice. Once you choose hope, anything is possible.
I choose Hope. 
For a grad present, my sister got me the cutest, most inspiring little book of quotes called Encouraging Thoughts for Women: Hope. I love to read out of this book even when I'm in the best of moods because it is seriously perfection. It isn't a very long book and I frequently read the same quotes over and over again, but I always get something new from the little ink marks. One of my favorite quotes from this book reads:
 "We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love." - Romans 5:3-5
I can have hope for the future because I know that the Lord knows the desires of my heart. I know that what is meant to be will always find a way. A wise man once said, "Hope is putting Faith to work when Doubting might be Easier." This wise man is our loving prophet, Thomas S. Monson. You know what they say: Follow the prophet, he knows the way. This prophet is saying that having hope might not be the easiest, but it will be the most rewarding. I would listen to him if I were you, because he is one amazing man with the sweetest, most selfless soul.

Yeah, yesterday was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. BUT you know what came out of the terrible day? This blog post. And a good read out of my quote book along with an inspiring chapter from the best book ever: The Book Of Mormon. Would you like to know what this chapter just happened to be about on this terrible, no good day? It was actually about becoming a better you.. but I feel like that ties along with hope... SO... if that ain't inspiration right there, I don't know what is.
If you can find at least one good thing in your life during a very bad day, hold onto it and cherish it. Allow that one aspect provide you with hope. Hope in life. Hope in the future. Faith in the Lord. Because if you keep hope alive, it will keep you alive.
As for the "universally crappy day" and the tears shed? Most of the situations my roommate and I talked about aren't completely the end of the world; most can be fixed in some way. And the rest? Well, I'll just be praying extra hard for the next few weeks.. I have hope that all will go well. Good things are going to happen. They always do.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Kindness Begins With Me

Depression surrounds me. It seems like everyone I know and love is suffering through this disease. I find it so heartbreaking, especially when I can't do anything to help because of distance and other factors.  I have never truly had depression myself, but there have been times when I have temporarily felt broken and hopeless. Those were the darkest times.
It is in human nature to want to feel loved, included, and thought of. We desire to be part of something more; something bigger than us. I doubt that anyone has gone through life without feeling alone at one point. In middle school, you find yourself. Or at least you try to. It might take years. You might never truly find yourself (though I hope that everyone will at some point in their life). I think that is what scares us the most. Uncertainty. My Family Life and Human Developments class has been focusing on adolescents and how children truly need security and certainty in their home life. They need fathers and mothers who will teach them, lead them, trust them, and love them. But it isn't only children who need this; adults need to be taught, lead, trusted, and loved too.
It rarely takes very much time to listen. I am talking TRULY listening to someone else. Listen to their stories, whether they be sad or happy. Listen to their cries and complains, even if they might be slightly melodramatic. The situation might seem so small and meaningless to you,  but you better bet that it is completely a big deal to them. Listen without talking, judging, or giving advice because sometimes it is just nice to have someone LISTEN for once. When you give up that time, setting aside those distractions that aren't really all THAT important, it shows how much you care. That act alone can bring a glimmer of hope into another's heart.
Be considerate. Everyone is going through inner struggles. Some are bigger than others, but each are very significant to those who face those struggles. Snide remarks, sarcastic comments, judging glances: Let's get rid of those. Replace them with kind words, thoughtful responses, bright smiles, and loving compliments. You never know who is trapped inside the darkness that has consumed their minds. Look up from the screens, take out your earphones, stop tweeting (sub-tweeting) about other people, and learn to love one another; there is a reason why it is one of God's greatest commandments. Take time to get to know someone you never thought you would ever talk to. Sit by someone who is alone. Include everyone. Be inviting (because truthfully, why should anyone be expected to "invite themselves" to activities?). Seek to strengthen yourself spiritually so you will be more in tune to promptings from the spirit. Pray for those that you think might need a little pick me up. Heck, you can even stop by and bring them a homemade treat. Who wouldn't feel special after that? Speak out loud those compliments that you might be thinking, especially to strangers. Who would it hurt?
 I have seen what depression does; how it works. Depression is scary; it's consuming; it's a daily struggle that doesn't necessarily ever go away. I watch as those I love fight this disease everyday, hoping for at least one moment of happiness to take away the pain. I hear their silent cries for help, but I can only do so much. There is a fine line between helping your loved ones, and getting sucked into the darkness of their depression. BUT there are ways to help, slowly but surely. And a great way to bring light unto the broken-hearted is to share with them the gospel. Even members need to be strengthened spiritually and uplifted through your testimony. Spread His light. Spread YOUR light. because...
"Kindness begins with me."