Today in our Relief Society lesson we talked about trials and how we deal with them. Our teacher gave each of us a couple of small pieces of paper and everyone wrote down two or three challenges they are facing right now. We folded them up and she collected them in a pretty glass bowl. As she unfolded these anonymous burdens and read them one by one, the room grew more and more quiet. I sat dumbfounded as I listened to one huge problem after the next, burdens my neighbors and friends are carrying every day. I wanted to look around at the faces of these women I love and I wanted to know which problems went with which of these sisters and friends. I thought I knew them.
I’ve been thinking about that list of trials all day. Most are silent members of our families. All are heartbreaking and difficult. And I’ve been thinking about my neighbors and friends and how they surround and support me with such love and goodness that their own challenges are left unannounced, silent. I find myself wondering if these good women are writing their stories. Each is a hero, dealing with challenges any of us would cringe to bear. And yet, there we were, meeting together this Sabbath day, in an organization created to give relief to each other, and we did. I think we each left that room with a heart filled with a bit more empathy and love for each other, after having voice given to those silent burdens.
It is a humbling thing to be among great and heroic women who bear up with smiles and continue to reach out to others when their own hearts may be breaking. It reminds me of something Elder Eyring once said, “The combination of trials and their duration are as varied as are the children of our Heavenly Father. No two are alike. But what is being tested is the same, at all times in our lives and for every person: will we do whatsoever the Lord our God will command us?” (Ensign, May 2004, p. 17).
I want to join my sisters and friends with an emphatic “Yes, we will!”