Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Charmed One

Last week as I was making my way out of the church building; I was trying to sneak around a couple who were visiting.  I overheard one say, "Man, we are just getting hit hard right now."  The other nodded his head and replied, "We are too, seems like everyone is getting hammered right now..."
Then upon seeing me he said,
 "except Sister Bishop, she's the charmed one."
 I just smiled as I passed by and found myself thinking, "If you only knew."

I found myself working with a sweet dear lady who was getting ready to be called home.  As I was sitting with her I found myself thinking, "this is different."  About that time I heard this sweet woman calling out, "I'm not ready, I'm not ready." A Book of Mormon Scripture mastery came into my mind in which I believe it was Alma or King Mosiah talking about our day of probation and how now was the time for us to prepare to meet our God because one day the call would come and we would no longer have that time to prepare.

As I watched this sweet woman fight to remain here in her "mortal probation" I found myself reflecting on a time in my life when I was not fighting to maintain this life but I was trying to will my heart to stop beating and my lungs to stop taking air so that I would stop breathing and die.
In my mind at that time I had nothing to live for.
Day in and day out I fought with my body to stop all function but it was not a fight I was going to win.
Like me, she was fighting a fight she was not going to win.

Later that week at work I noticed something visibly wrong with one of my co-workers.
When I approached her she started crying and simply said, "I don't want to talk about it."
I let her know that when she was ready I would be there to listen.
A few hours later she approached me and let me know that for the last few days she had been contemplating on the best way to take her life and that she had chosen that particular day to end her life but her boyfriend had stopped her.
Gazing at her tear filled eyes I then related a story to her about me.

"You see there was a time when I decided to end my life.
My husband and parents did everything they could think of to reach me but I was so lost in my despair I could not see or hear them.
The night I decided that "this is the day,"  my husband/best friend sensing something was amiss stopped me at our front door and took my car keys away.
Oh how I hated him at that moment.
I spit some venomous words at him and to this day I can still see the look of hurt in his eyes and how his shoulders slumped as he handed me back my keys and said in a sorrowful voice, "your gonna have to do what you feel you have to do."

Her mouth dropped and she said, "oh no, not you."  To which I replied, "Oh yes, me."
I then shared with her that that had been a very dark period in my life in which I could see no light.
We were interrupted by other staff but one day we will continue our conversation.

Towards the end of the week I watched as a grief stricken spouse said his last good-byes to his sweet heart.  He started cursing God and asking "how could a loving God put good people through this!"  My heart ached  as I listened to him curse the very God I love so much; once again a memory from my past came rushing in where I remember cursing God just as this man and wanting to know "WHY!"
That period was the start of my journey into a dark deep abyss with no light or sunshine.

Of that dark period all I remember is feeling numb, there was nothing inside.
 I was a hollowed out walking shell.
I spent my days curled up in a chair in our dark basement day in and day out for over a year.
I did not talk did not care to eat or drink but would nibble to appease my husband from fretting over me; I no longer wanted to fight I just wanted to be left alone.
One night he turned the TV on for me.  I remember staring at nothing but then I Love Lucy came on and I found myself actually focusing on what she was doing.
This particular episode, Lucy and Ethel were working at the chocolate conveyor belt and as the chocolates started coming faster and faster they were stuffing them into their mouths, hats, dresses and anywhere they could stuff them.
As I was watching their antics I heard this unfamiliar sound of somebody laughing.
I looked around to see who had invaded my little world and found no one but me.
I then realized that the laughter I had heard had come from me.
It had been so long since I had laughed or even smiled that I had forgotten that sound and how it felt because I had been numb for so long; I felt nothing.
That was the day I felt the icy numbness starting to melt and each day I felt a little more of something including pain.

That painful journey started for me in 1991 and did not come to an end until 1997.
It was in 1997 I met some great and loving people who wrapped their arms around me and have loved me and have taught me some great and powerful lessons on who I am and most of all that I am a Child of God.
I came to know for myself that not a day passed that He did not love "broken me."
I learned that I was the one that turned my back on Him and walked away.
He, on the other hand remained steady waiting for the day when I would return and he could once again wrap His loving arms around me and let me know how much I was loved.
It was during this period I started to really understand what the "Atonement" meant for me.

Looking back over that dark period, I have come to realize it has molded me into an instrument He can use to help others who are feeling lost and alone.
There are  many who see a smiling face which radiates peace from within.
They see someone who is basking in the sunshine but if they were to look closer, they would see a woman who has been beaten and battered and still carries many scars from her personal battles.
No, I am not the "Charmed One."

I am one that has been through the refiners fire and has come out a bit more polished.
Alas I'm still more coal than diamond, so I have no doubt there will be more fires to come because He has promised me that I can become a diamond someday.

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