For Halloween, I dressed as Rosie the Riveter. I have long admired the women who stepped up during WWII to ensure that factories kept running, that soldiers would have ammunition, planes, etc. to continue to fight the battle. In 7th grade I did a report on these women and their example has led me for much of my life. These were women who stepped up, to moved forward when much of life as they knew it crumbled around them. Rosie the Riveter has been their poster-girl, with the words "We Can Do It!" emblazoned behind her. They knew that they were strong enough, smart enough, capable enough to perform the jobs that only men had been able to perform at that time. Those words follow me each and every day. While I am not building planes or bombs, I am fighting a battle. Grief is a war of the mind and it can be incredibly destructive if you do not believe that you can take measures to minimize destruction and yes, sometimes you can even fight back.
But my constant is this reminder:
To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified. (Isaiah 61: 3)
While laboring with James, Kyle and I attempted to distract ourselves by watching a movie. It was some silly, heartwarming family movie and though our intentions were good, no media device would work. We tried the hospital tv (no dvd player), a portable tv/dvd combo (stuck in Spanish with no remote to change it), my mom brought a portable dvd player from our home (broken). It took a good couple of hours after we realized that maybe Heavenly Father wanted us to use our time a little more wisely. There was no escape from the sadness of this situation and trying to forget it through a family comedy wasn't going to happen. So we turned on some Mormon Tabernacle Choir and opened our scriptures. But where was I going to read? The scriptures seemed too huge in that moment so I just started flipped and stopping when there was a marker of some sort, I had a piece of paper with the words of a family friend and spiritual mentor that led me to Isaiah 61. This scripture has turned into a favorite as I think of the promise that is given. From the ashes of mourning we can become mighty trees of righteousness. The promise of the Savior is that He can turn our sorrow into something good, He can transform our lives.
I believe in that promise wholeheartedly.
I have seen myself change from the moment I accepted the offer to be baptized. I have changed and I am stronger and more full of faith and personally I believe I have grown into a better person. I know that if I actively try, I can continue to grow.
So I try to choose forgiveness when there has been no apology, I try to choose patience when time goes against my wishes, I try to choose kindness, love, service, diligence, and obedience. I try. I am not perfect but I move forward trying to choose that which is good.
The war of grief continues on and as I fight I remind myself that I can do it. I do not have to let my grief turn me bitter towards the world and in fact, I can let it teach me to see the hearts of those around me. It can teach me to love them, uplift them, serve them more fully. So I am trying to choose to let the Savior work through me, through my mourning. As I have done this, I have felt that weight on my heart lift and my heart can expand, to be filled with more love. It beats with more strength, changed for the better from the weight it has endured and will still endure. I feel peace and joy as I allow the strength I have gained to help me move forward, no on, but forward.