There is one song that I've loved for many years. Its music video falls under the later and so every time that I hear the song I see a music video in my mind. The song is "You're Still You" sung by Josh Groban. Every single time I hear the song the same story comes to mind.
Josh is entering a hospital room where his wife is laying in a hospital bed looking pale, very weak, thin and she is bald. You can tell that she is in pain. She has been fighting a hard battle with cancer.
When she sees Josh enter the room we zoom to her face and see her eyes light up and a winning smile replace the tired one.
We zoom out to see Josh stand next to her hospital bed on the left side. The window is at Josh's back and light is streaming into the room. Josh slowly bends over to kiss his wife on her forehead. Her eyes shut for a moment in peace. Josh then reaches for the chair behind him and draws it up beside her bed and holds her right hand in both of his.
It is quiet except for the humming of the machines. Josh looks intently at his wife as she smiles through the pain. Josh begins to sing the song.
We are then taken back to a crowded college campus. Josh is walking swiftly to his next class and happens to glance to his left to see a beautiful young lady leaning against a tree studying some papers in her hands. She happens to look up and their eyes connect. Her eyes light up as she smiles.
We are then taken to a small chapel where Josh is wearing a tux and the beautiful young lady is wearing a simple but exquisite wedding gown. They are facing one another in front of the preacher. Josh lifts the veil up and over head and looks into her eyes. We get a close up of her eyes shining with joy as a tear slips down her cheek and meets her soft peaceful smile.
We are then brought back into a hospital. But this time we see Josh and his wife sitting together on a hospital bed looking down at a newborn wrapped in a blanket. For a moment their eyes meet and her eyes are once again filled with unspeakable joy as she holds her first child in her arms. She can't stop smiling.
We are then taken to a cozy dinning room with a long wooden table and chairs. Food is spread across the center and and there are many people of all different ages sitting together chattering as they eat a delicious meal. It becomes apparent that three generations are represented in the room. Through all the noise and passing of food Josh's wife looks once again at him with eyes bright and filled with thankfulness as she grabs his hand and gives it a squeeze.
We are now taken into a doctor's office where the doctor says a few words and Josh's wife's head drops as tears pour down her cheeks. Josh is holding her left hand and is speechless. He helps her stand and gathers her into his arms. Her eyes squeeze shut as she continues to shake leaning into Josh.
We are then taken to a master bathroom. Josh's wife is standing at the mirror in shock as she sees her brush full of hair. She is too scared to look in the mirror for fear of what will be looking back at her. Josh pops in to tell her something and notices that she is frozen in place. He quickly realizes the situation and pulls his wife from the bathroom to sit on the bed beside him. She stares blankly ahead.
We are then brought back to the present. Josh's cheeks are wet with tears but he is smiling as he realizes that even through the pain his wife is still a light in his life. Their eyes meet and they both smile and her eyes light up once again as they did the first time their eyes met oh so many years ago. Even through all the pain she is still herself. A light in his life. A light that will never die.
This song has been on my mind for the last couple of weeks. There have been many times where I find myself staring at myself in the mirror. Looking into my own eyes wondering where I have gone. I think back on the horrific moments that most people can't imagine the actions I have taken. In those moments I am not myself. But even after those moments have passed I still stare blankly at myself in the mirror.
Trials of faith bring changes. These trials can strengthen or weaken our faith. Elder Andersen in this last General Conference says, "These fiery trials are designed to make you stronger, but they have the potential to diminish or even destroy your trust in the Son of God and to weaken your resolve to keep your promises to Him." There have been times that I have felt weak. Physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. I feel as though I can't take on one more thing without breaking. Lately I have been more depressed and anxious and have said countless times that I just want to give up. And it is hard for me not to get angry at God. For all that is on my plate and now the added physical issues that I now face as well. It seems to be my year to experience it all.
But my faith in God and His plan for me is what has kept me going. Taking one day at a time. I often ask God why are you asking so much of me. Especially in my weakened state. In the scriptures the Lord says: "My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways...
"For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." I can't see the big picture. I can barely see to the end of the week. I sometimes feel that I am weak but I am told that I am actually becoming stronger. I can't see it or feel it. Elder Andersen says, "By definition trials will be trying. There may be anguish, confusion, sleepless nights, and pillows wet with tears. But our trials need not be spiritually fatal. They need not take us from our covenants or from the household of God."
As I now look into my own eyes I try to remind myself that I am a daughter of God. He has made certain promises to me. Promises that He will keep. That though I may be changing, learning more about my weaknesses and strengths I am still me at the core. How much more time before I feel like myself? I don't know. Saturday I took the wrong drugs in the morning and I broke down wondering if some of these changes were permanent. My short term memory is horrible. My patience has worn thin. My desire to do the things that I used to is in many ways still buried deep. As time goes on I forget what I feel like when I am my "normal" self. Elder Andersen says, "Like the intense fire that transforms iron into steel, as we remain faithful during the fiery trial of our faith, we are spiritually refined and strengthened."
My hope is that I am being refined and strengthened. That I'm learning the lessons that I need to. I know that my trust in God has been strengthened. And even though I may feel so far away somewhere deep inside I'm still me.