Each of us, at some point in time in our lives, will bear things that are seemingly unbearable. The reconciliation of our own spiritual truths with our sexual orientation; the loss of someone we love and whose soul has become intertwined with our own; bad news from physicians that predict dire outcomes for us or those we love.
I am no exception. Like you, I have had to endure things that, in the moment, seem unendurable. It is during those times, I believe, that our true character shines through. We have a choice—we can be bitter about our circumstances, make ourselves victims to life itself, or we can choose to be thankful for our trials. The choice is ours.
I wish I could say it’s easy for me to choose gratitude in the face of difficult circumstances. Often, it still is not. But I have found, though, that focusing on the gratitude not only makes the unbearable bearable, but it also helps me to grow in my faith, in my confidence in myself, and most importantly in the assurance that I am—regardless of circumstance—never without my Savior.
Each and every one of us has dealt with suffering. And, we can be sure we will again—such is the nature of this existence. But we have the opportunity to do more than survive difficulties—we have the opportunity to allow them to help us thrive.
For me, the process of coming to terms with being a gay Mormon was one such “moment.” I found myself brought to my knees, both literally and figuratively. It was clear that my circumstances would not change: I would always be gay, that was never a choice. And I would always be a child of my Father in Heaven—that, as well, was never a choice. The one thing that could change, however, was my own attitude about my situation, and how I chose to understand myself and my Savior. For my Savior alone, the author and finisher of my faith, could provide the deliverance I sought. I had no choice but to place my expectations, desires, my despair as well as my joy, in the hands of my Lord.
And do so, I did.
Today, when I am asked to endure the unendurable, I remember that I am more than my problems. I have been brought through many struggles to be exactly where I am today—and I am exactly where I am supposed to be. My challenges have brought me a wealth of experience that I can put to use for myself, and for others who face similar difficulties. I needn’t fear the challenges of the future, because I know that with the guidance of my Savior I am—like you—capable of handling anything life brings me.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of viewing our lives as a tragedy when we’re contending with what seems unbearable. But if we so choose, we can regard anything that happens to us as a gift from which we can learn and grow. I challenge each of you—whether you’re facing the unbearable now, or in the future—to find something positive hidden within a difficult situation, and allow yourself to be grateful. I believe that, like me, you’ll be surprised at how much a little gratitude can help.
“And I will also be your light in the wilderness. And I will prepare the way before you if it so be that ye keep my commandments. And ye shall know that it is by me that ye are lead.” (1 Ne 17).