Last week was a dark and heavy week for me; not my usual "dancing with daffodils" kind of moment that I want to record but there is something I want to remember from last week. My sister texted me 10 days ago to tell me that her doctor had found an abnormal mass in her breast and that they were testing it. She asked us to pray for her, which we did. Monday we found out it was malignant and she had to wait until Friday to have an MRI done to see if the cancer had spread to her lymph nodes. All last week this information weighed on me. I was consumed with worry and sadness and felt like tar was running through my body instead of blood. My heart literally felt heavy to me and dark.
I also had a friend get hurt by some really unkind words and then later in the week my daughter was upset about an incident at school when a kid in her class was rough with her for no reason. It sounds dramatic now but in the moment it felt like everyone I loved was being attacked and it crushed me. I knew that things like praying and reading my scriptures would make me feel better but those were the hardest things to do. I would stare at the page of my scriptures and just think about how life's surprises from here on out were most likely to be bad instead of good.
On Thursday we fasted as a family for my sister and when I talked to her on Friday, she was calm and matter-of-fact as she told me about her diagnosis and the genetic testing and how she has to meet with the surgeon and how I need to be vigilant about getting tested myself. She said she felt strengthened by the fasting and praying and I was grateful to see our faithful efforts being a blessing to her. Later that day she heard that her MRI was clean and it didn't appear that the cancer had spread, which was a wonderful answer to our prayers. She also told me about a priesthood blessing she had received where she was promised that this would be a great challenge but that it wouldn't take her life.
Friday evening I went to a family history activity at my church and while nothing of unusual consequence really happened, I felt more peaceful when I left. Saturday I went to a stake women's conference (a stake is multiple congregations all in our area) and the theme was from Matthew when Christ tells his disciples to let their light so shine that others could see their good works and glorify our Father in Heaven. I went to three classes; the first was on how to increase the light in our own lives. We talked about scripture study and obedience to the commandments and serving others. The second was on how to share our light with others and the third was on what some of the women in our organization are doing to help the refugees in D.C. It was all so inspirational and uplifting and between the wonderful doctrine I was taught, the time with friends and fantastic women of God, and the nice break from my regular routine, I was finally feeling like life could be good again.
My sister met with the surgeon on Monday and is still facing some serious decisions and consequences. We have to wait to see what the genetic test results are and then she will have one of two surgeries based on those results and then maybe radiation or maybe chemotherapy. It isn't going to be easy but she is tough and has great faith so I know she'll be able to get through it. I feel great sadness knowing all that she is going to have to endure but I know that turning towards God is the only way to overcome those feelings. He is the light and the life of the world. Light and darkness cannot be in the same space so as we turn to him, his light will dispel the darkness in our lives. For me it was not as miraculous as turning on a light switch but more like lighting one candle at a time as I chose to do something that would invite his spirit into my life or bring me closer to him in some way and that's what I want to remember about last week. Even when the worry and sadness and weight of life is overwhelming and all I want to do is watch TV to escape it, the best thing to do is to light the candle of my faith and make the effort to let the light grow, and I know that it will. The challenges haven't changed but I have, thanks to His light.