I love social media. And I hate it at the same time. I’m entering another Facebook fast for a couple of weeks because I find myself feeling overwhelmed at all that is there.
I’m particularly overwhelmed as of late by the tragedy and difficulty I see on my Facebook feed and in the news.
Perhaps I am more tender right now because a difficult trial has stared my family in the face this month. My mom was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer. She began a brutal schedule of multiple chemotherapy drugs. That will be followed by surgery and then radiation and then more surgery.
I know this story isn’t new to many people. But cancer has never hit this hard and this close for me. And I’m feeling it. I’m feeling the fear and the reality of how fragile life is. I’m wishing so much that my mom wouldn’t have to go through this. I’m terrified of my own mortality, too.
And then I think of my friend’s five-year-old daughter going through a bone marrow transplant.
Or my mission companion who found at the end of last year that her cancer had spread to several parts of her body. She just finished six months of experimental treatments.
I think of the many women I know (through this forum) who are facing the pain of their husband’s sexual addiction). [That forum was created because this site was becoming overwhelmed with such need and I wanted them to have a place where they could support each other.]
I think of those who are mourning the death of a loved one.
Nevermind the international headlines that are crushingly heart-breaking, frightening, and overwhelming.
I am sure you could add your own weight to the pile. I sometimes say that we all have our stuff. And sometimes I just plain don’t like that reality. It can be hard. It can be hard not to wonder why. Why does God let so many horrible and hard things happen? I am a woman of faith, and my faith gives me great comfort and perspective, and yet I wrestle sometimes with all my soul against these questions — not because I don’t know some of the answers we do have, but because sometimes in the moment I can’t feel the answers. I absorb so much of the hard that goes on around me that I lose space within myself to feel peace.
For me, attending 12-step meetings helps me learn to let God carry the weight in my life. In last week’s meeting, the scripture from Alma 7:11-12 was read:
11 And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
12 And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.
That scripture has always been one of my favorites. But last week, it hit me in a different way. I realized that that scripture can help me remember how I try too often to take others’ pains, sicknesses, and struggles upon myself. (I try to take on even my own stuff too much, too. I still struggle with the illusion that it’s my job to fix everything that is wrong with myself and my life. Oh, how damaging the illusion of control can be!)
I am grateful to have the opportunity on this Sabbath day to remember Jesus. Again. We have the sacrament every week for a reason. Because it’s so, so easy to forget that the Atonement really is big enough for all that we see and struggle, both individually and collectively.
He took it all upon Himself — not just sin, but somehow He experienced the actual, mortal weight of all that we experience.
When anxiety, sadness, or worry threaten to overtake me, I find that looking for tender mercies in my life helps me remember Him. He blessed me with a sweet tender mercy this week that was so clearly from Him. I am grateful.
Talking with and hearing from others also helps me remember.
So tell me. How do you let Him carry you? How do you lay your burdens at His feet? What helps you when life starts to feel overwhelming?