4.15.2010

Ladders and Life

It's really difficult for me to feel the spirit of the Holy Ghost when I'm depressed. {It's hard to feel anything but depressed while I'm depressed!} I'm forced to rely on the direction and revelation I've received in the past. I believe my faith is strong, but the drought can be hard and I miss the intense connection with my Heavenly Father that I've formerly taken for granted.

On Sunday, many of the women I serve with in the Young Women's organization were released and new individuals called to fill their places. There was an abundance of tears and testimonies. I longed to feel what they were feeling, but instead I felt dead inside. Part of me wondered why I hadn't been released as well, since it's hard to believe I have much to offer impressionable teenagers while I'm in such a dark state. It was in this frame of mind that I returned home and began reading a collection of inspirational stories that arrived with an Easter package from my parents.

I flipped straight to the story contributed by my Dad. Here it is {shared with his permission}:

"When I was young married, one of my brothers asked if I would put siding on a new chimney chase he'd had installed. It was three stories tall, so I had to rent a 40' aluminum ladder to reach the top. When I finished the first side and had the ladder fully extended, I decided to be lazy and just pick up the bottom of the ladder and try to scoot the top around to the next side without retracting it. I t started to get away from me, however, and I was barely able to stop it from falling. I ended up stuck there, unable to straighten, lower, or move it without losing control.

It was almost comical until I saw that if it fell, it would probably reach a power line and really put on a show. So I then asked Heavenly Father if He would help me with this {for obvious reasons, I have become the world's fastest pray-er} and was immediately and clearly impressed to call for my youngest son, Shane, who had come to work with me that day. My first thought was, "He's seven- what could he do?" But I'd also learned on my mission that if I didn't heed promptings from the Holy Ghost, they stopped coming as readily.

So I went ahead and called, "Shane!" but he was on the other side of the house and didn't hear me. When I called a second time, louder, a garbage truck that was coming down the street suddenly braked and a strapping young man twice as big as me hopped out and came running over. He could have moved the ladder by himself, but he grabbed on with me and together we put it where it needed to go. I was so surprised and thankful, and as I told him so I saw that the name embroidered on his work shirt said "Shane". He said that when he heard me call his name, he had to stop and help.

I have reflected since on how obvious it is that Heavenly Father knows each of our names and knows what we will do. I've thought also about how amazing it is that someone as important as Heavenly Father could see fit so often to reach down and help me with my little problems here in the sandbox. It makes me love Him."

As I finished reading that simple story, I was shocked to find my eyes filling with tears. My heart swelled with the certainty that Heavenly Father does know us-- knows me-- by name. I'm so grateful for that small whispering of the spirit that reassured me that I have not been abandoned. My current discomforts {and difficulty feeling the spirit} are temporary. This too shall pass.

I'm so thankful for personal revelation, and especially thankful for the testimony of my Dad, which has always helped to strengthen my own.

{Image by Rodney Smith}

14 comments:

Cheeri said...

Now my eyes are filling with tears!

I know you don't know me so I hope you don't think it's creepy that I've commented on your blog. It's just that so much of what you say about your struggle with depression resonates with me and my life. Sad as it may be, it's comforting to know I'm not alone in my struggles; that my depressive thoughts are validated and not just made up. That the person I seem to be today is not the real me.

Cheeri said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LisAway said...

What an awesome story. Glad you got a glimpse into how much he really does know and care for each of us, whether we feel it or not, for whatever reason.

Janae said...

That is an amazing story. Your dad is a great man. Thanks for helping me to feel the spirit. I've been lacking lately as well--pregnancy makes me feel like I'm not, well, myself.

Good luck in your 9+ month journey through this!

Hizzeather said...

Oh wow...great story!

TheSpanishLady said...

thanks for this post. I was feeling a little down today and this helped give me a little boost.

Carrie Stuart said...

What a great reminder of how Heavenly Father knows each of us and really does help us in big and small ways. Thanks for sharing that!

Marci said...

Thanks for sharing!
I absolutely love your blog and wanted you to know how much you are helping others. I don't personally deal with depression but you are helping me to understand what many others are going through. I'm sure there will come a point when I am able to help a friend in need in a better way because of what you have taught me.

Rachael said...

I'm not trying to be self-promoting, but my mother wrote a book that I think might really be helpful to you. It's called "Reaching for Hope: An LDS Perspective on Recovering From Depression" (http://www.amazon.com/Reaching-Hope-Perspective-Recovering-Depression/dp/157345849X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1271382365&sr=8-1). It has quite a bit of discussion about the way depression literally blocks the ability to feel the Spirit, and what you can do to counteract this.

As a personal aside, I've been watching my mom's recovery over the last decade. What really made a difference for her wasn't medication, but cognitive therapy--she's been off meds for years now, and she's the mother that I remember from my childhood and early adolescence--energetic, joyful, warm, giving, and compassionate. Which was not the case during the six years that she suffered from undiagnosed depression while I was a teenager.

I know that you don't know me, nor do I know you and your particular situation, but as the child of a woman who struggled with depression for years, I really, really, really hope that you are taking very proactive steps to do whatever you can to combat the effects of depression in your life. I know this may not be the case in your family--and I sincerely hope it isn't--but my mother's struggles with depression and all the problems she encountered with medicating it had drastically negative impacts on our family. I can't say enough good things about a proactive approach that includes cognitive therapy to (hopefully) eradicate depression, rather than medication that treats the symptoms without attacking the underlying cause.

I hope I haven't offended you or hurt you in any way by this comment; I've been thinking for weeks that I wanted to say something, but this last post made me feel like I absolutely had to. I wish you and your family all the best--I know this is not what you would choose, nor is it an easy thing to conquer and battle on a daily basis. I admire you for your continued determination.

Apis Melliflora said...

Beautifully written, daughter and father alike.

I think it's fair to say that the Holy Spirit moved you to write that post and start this blog. Sometimes, the Spirit can work though us even with depression weighing down. The impossible is possible with Him. All good is inspired by the Spirit; we just don't always recognize this.

The Dragonfly said...

It is wonderful when the faith filled experiences of others can lift us in our darkest times. I know I rely on that fact often. You may not feel inspired currently, but you are INSPIRING.

Thinking of you . . .

Miggy said...

Hey Lady,

I love that story. I love those tender, but often far-too-few experiences we have in life where we're softly reminded 'you're not alone.'

There has been a great round table discussion over at Blog Segullah {well it's over now, but you could find all the posts} about depression. It's been very eye-opening for me. I know one of the specific things they talk about is depression and the spirit. Additionally, each woman also goes through and shares what treatment has worked best for her--no disrespect to the woman above but there are plenty of people who respond really well to medication, often coupled with therapy. As the women in that post discuss, each of them is different and the treatment is also different.

I'm sorry to hear about your pain and struggles. I hope it's not lame to send you to a blog as if it's some simple answer--I don't think that's the case, but I know with many things in life feeling alone is a huge part of the struggle and finding other's who share your burden can be a small glimmer of hope. Since finding your blog way back when, you've always been someone I've felt drawn to. Keep fighting the good fight.

Stephanie said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Em said...

That is the coolest story ever.

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