The definition of pavilion in the dictionary is "a light, usually open building used for shelter, concerts, exhibits, etc., as in a park or fair." When I first think of the word pavilion I think of Lewisville Park, which is close to where my parents live. It has quite a few pavilions. I reflect on 4th of July breakfasts, birthday parties, barbecues, the start of summer parties, water fights and many other wonderful memories when I think of those pavilions in that park. And being located in the Pacific Northwest they were most definitely used to shelter us from the rain at times. They were a safe haven that protected us from the elements.
It wasn't until hearing President Eyring's talk this last October General Conference that I began to give further thought to the word pavilion. I think many of us think of a pavilion as a sort of protection. Something good that helps us enjoy the outdoors. How could the word pavilion have a negative connotation?
In the past when I have told others that I'm struggling with depression I'm asked if I'm praying, reading my scriptures, going to church or going to the temple. As though those actions can chase the depression away. Now for those that are having a depressive day they most certainly can help. They can even help me, but no; they cannot chase the depression and anxiety away as much as I wish they could. The past year has been a roller coaster. I at times feel that I'm getting close to the top of my mountain to only slip down a few feet. Since this particular trial has now lasted more than a year it is hard for me to imagine actually making it to the top of the mountain. To even imagine what that will feel like. It has been so long in so many ways.
A couple of weeks ago I felt the gray that surrounds me develop into a deep dark fog. I couldn't mentally process much. I couldn't handle being around people for very long. The simplest acts would drain me. When I have always envisioned depression I picture in my mind a black fog surrounding me. Blocking all good things and all good thoughts. I feel as though I'm clawing out for something to grab onto. Anything. At these times I know mentally that Heavenly Father is there and is aware of my needs, but I cannot feel Him. I can't feel the promptings of the Holy Ghost. I can't feel of His love. It is like the conduit between me and heaven is blocked.
And this is my pavilion. It isn't one that I have chosen through my actions or the intentions of my heart. But it describes exactly how I feel. It is not a protection. It is something standing in the way between me and God. President Eyring says, "The pavilion that seems to intercept divine aid does not cover God but occasionally covers us. God is never hidden, yet sometimes we are." And it is during these moments that I feel so alone. It is often during these times that I feel frustration. I ask God "why do I have to go through this again? Don't I have enough on my plate as it is?" I find myself kneeling, sobbing my heart out to God for something to hold onto. For His hand to reach out for me to grab. But a pavilion stands in the way.
It is during these times that I rely heavily on those around me. Elder Ballard shares President Monson's thoughts on the matter. "President Thomas S. Monson has taught that in many instances Heavenly Father answers another person's prayers through us - through you and me - through our kind words and deeds, through our simple acts of service and love." Elder Ballard goes on to say, "And President Spencer W. Kimball said: God does notice us, and he watches over us. But it is usually through another person that he meets our needs. Therefore, it is vital that we serve each other." I'm not sure where I would be were it not for the simple acts of service and love that have been sent my way. Things as simple as a loving text, being given more eggs to throw against the shower wall, having good health insurance, having a home to go to when I need a safe haven, care packages left in front of my door, quotes, scriptures and music shared, comments left here on my blog or on facebook and the love and prayers sent from those near and far.
Now I'm far from perfect, and there is something that I occasionally do that most definitely keeps the pavilion in place. That is when I get angry at God. That He doesn't answer my prayers the way that I would like Him to. That He doesn't follow my own timetable. President Eyring talks about this pavilion, "...another way we can create a barrier to knowing God's will or feeling His love for us: we can't insist on our time table when the Lord has his own." There are other trials where I completely trust His timing. His timing is perfect and he sees the big picture. He knows when Tom and I are ready to be parents or when those souls are ready to join mortality. He knows when to heal. Having trust and faith in His timing makes these burdens so light to bear. President Eyring says, "His time should be soon enough for us since we know that He wants only what is best."
I don't know when this pavilion will be lifted. How much longer I will have to struggle taking one day at a time. How long it will be till I feel of God's love or feel His guiding hand in my life. I can see it, but I can't feel it. I don't have all the answers to my questions, but I do know that He cares, and just because I can't feel doesn't mean He has forgotten me. President Eyring shares, "God is close to us and aware of us and never hides from His faithful children." He is there. He loves me. He has helped me to get to where I am today by answering my prayers through other faithful sons and daughters. I am thankful that even with this pavilion over my head I am not alone. Never alone.