Saturday, January 16, 2010

A Glimmer of Hope Becomes Perfect Brightness

A Glimmer of Hope - Abstract Design
by Exper Giovanni Rubaltelli

One of my closest friends just graduated from college with a BA in English. This determined woman has five grown children, a chronic illness, and during the course of her college career (most of which was accomplished with children still at home), she underwent intense chemotherapy for a particularly nasty form of breast cancer. More recently, she was diagnosed with cancer of the eye. Despite this and other adversities, diploma in hand, she is now embarking upon her master's degree.

How I admire my friend's courage and resilience! Every time clouds of darkness enter her life, threatening to extinguish the light that burns so brightly within her, she refuses to be vanquished. Through faith and prayer, she continues to press forward. As one of her close confidants, I am aware that not once has she allowed herself to let go of that little light of hope in her heart. Occasionally it has dimmed for a period of time, but never has it stopped burning.

Observing this great woman, and thinking about what she has accomplished in the past several years, I see more clearly how even a glimmer of hope can be turned into a perfect brightness of hope. "I am able to make you holy, " the Lord promises (D&C 60:7), and we can be the recipients of that promise by turning to Him in all things, making Him the foundation of our lives. When things don't go our way, we can remind ourselves that life is a period of experience, growth, and testing. We can be patient with the Lord and with ourselves as we go through the ups and downs of life. "In your patience possess ye your souls," we are told (Luke 20:19), and becoming the people God wants and needs us to be does take patience. This patience comes by way of faith in God and His plan...accompanied by the enduring hope that such faith makes possible.

I am reminded of the story of the Velveteen Rabbit:

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes time. That's why it doesn't often happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all" (Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit).

My friend is one of the most Real people I know. One day, I feel sure that she will achieve her goal and become a college English teacher, but already she has become much more than that to me. She is an "example of the believers" (1 Timothy 4:12), a living manifestation for me and others of pressing forward against all odds, with a perfect brightness of hope.

"Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men" (2 Nephi 31:20).

Thanks, M. You are one of my heroes.



Amy said...

What an amazing woman! I hope she reaches her dream as well, and hearing her story makes me want to try harder to achieve mine.

Jill said...

"In your patience possess ye your souls,"
I love that. Explains a lot, doesn't it?

Darlene said...

Yes, M. is an incredible woman. What a lot of trials this woman has had, and she has managed to get through all of them. How I would love to have a little of her patience and long suffering!

I am sure that she will reach her goal one day and think of all those college kids that will be in her English classes. What luck to have such a woman as their teacher!

What a great friend she has been to you and you to her. You are both blessed to be so close.

Katie said...

She sounds amazing! How nice to have a friend like that in your life :)

karen said...

Women like your friend are a true inspiration - they make me want to quit my whining and get myself in gear! I'm in awe, and greatly admire that she hasn't let her illness and trials define her. Quite the other way around.

jen said...

People like M. amaze me. Where do the find the energy to battle cancer twice, let alone face college.
I wish I could tell her myself how impressed I am.
Thanks for sharing this story.

Sue said...

You know, I forgot to mention that she taught seminary in the midst of all this. Yep, she is about as stalwart as they come.

Karen Sue said...

It is sometimes amazing what you can deal with. When Hubby#1 decided he wasn't in love anymore, I was left with 2 ,little kids and one on the way. People would say, 'I don't know how you do it. I could never do what you're doing.' I would never PICK this way, but you do what you have to. Now life is better, but it will never be quite the same. I've remarried, adjusted, adopted, and complicated my life in many wonderful ways...
We talked with our Table of 8 group last night about a guy at our church who's wife was killed in a car accident when she had an 18m little girl and an older set of twins...and how his faith grew so much to get him through and be an example to all of us. You take what you get and if you let it, your faith increases to carry you on.

VK said...

I love "M", and the example she sets for me as well. Always cheerful, and non-complaining, she makes me want to be the same.
You go girl!!

Karen said...

You can't keep the good ones down!

Thanks for the peek at her life.

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