The Mormon Channel recently released a new Mormon Message. One that really stuck me to my core.
In the video, the life of a boy as he grows to a man is detailed through a few key experiences. The narration is portrayed through the phone calls this man has with his father. At the heart of every experience is a trial and how he reacts to it. The boy blames his brother for crying while he bullies him, the teen blames another driver hitting him for his sudden stop at a crosswalk, the man makes excuses for treating his wife and family poorly, and finally has no one left to blame in his life as he sits alone in a diner.
As I watched the progression of this man’s life, I couldn’t help but feel that this man was me. As if this video entitled “Reflections” was a reflection of my own life.
He blamed others for every difficulty, fault, and injustice he faced. The potential for happiness was sapped from every moment by his choices. His story is my story. And I hate admitting it. When he said his younger brother ruins stuff, I can remember saying that. When he said people like that women shouldn’t be driving, I remember saying that. It was at that moment that the emotions and realizations began to take hold for me.
The description of the video reads, “When trials and tests come, how do you react? Do you become selfish and scared, or do you face the challenges with patience, faith, and love for others?”
As I watched and read that, I felt truly emotional. When my trials seem heavy, I don’t endure with faith. When I perceive that others have harmed me, I don’t have a love for them. And don’t get me started on patience. I have almost none.
This week was especially difficult for me. Anytime I am reminded of my trials, being a gay Mormon, it hurts. When friends say things that make me feel different, it hurts. When they go on and on about dating and girls, I am reminded of my loneliness. When they don’t understand my struggle, I feel forsaken.
Elder James B. Martino said,”In our trials, let us not become bitter of uncommitted…” When I think about the way others have treated me, the way they’ve spoken to me, how nonchalantly they treat their understanding of a trial that tears at my soul.. it makes me feel bitter and resentful. I don’t feel love for them, I just feel disgust.
But here lies the mistake in my actions: It’s not their fault I feel this way. Sure, I would love to be one of the guys and talk about the same stuff they do, but I can’t. And I can’t take that out on them. Sure they could have a bit more sensitivity to my plight when they make certain remarks, but I choose how to react to them. The choice is mine alone.
If anything can be garnered from this Mormon Message, it’s that in the gall of our trials, we make the choice to look in or out. We can turn in on ourselves, with pity cry “Oh why me!”, wish everyone around us would behave differently, treat us better, and cater to our needs, or we can turn outward and serve. We can look outside ourselves and choose to react with love, faith, patience, and charity.
I think it is in those telling moments when we feel dark and heavy that we can feel closer to Heavenly Father. It’s at those times that we can deliberately choose to react differently, and turn towards the Savior.