The Blessing of Adversity

adversityWhile organizing some files, I found and read a talk Mark wrote and gave in church, November 1990, five months before our car accident. The title, The Blessing of Adversity, grabbed my attention and my heart started to pound as I read on. By the time I got to the last few paragraphs tears were flowing as I realized twenty-five years later the prophetic nature of his words. The talk is well over 2,ooo words so I decided to publish only part of the talk. I try to keep these articles around 1,000 words.

If you didn’t know my husband before the car accident, this gives insight on how he was before and you’ll see the core of his soul hasn’t changed. He is an example of enduring to the end and appreciating life and the lessons learned along the way.

Written by Mark Wilson

Many blessings are obvious. Our families, friends, homes and the country we live in are all blessings most of us recognize and are grateful for.  But I’d like to talk about some blessings that aren’t always so obvious.  You see, I believe that very few things happen in this world that aren’t blessings, even being asked to talk in church, for instance. Like many of you, I am terrified of talking in public.  While serving as ward clerk, I sat in on many a bishopric meeting, wherein the topic of discussion often was “who can we get to speak in sacrament meeting?” You know, not once did I volunteer.  Come to think of it, I don’t remember anyone else volunteering either. How can giving a talk in sacrament meeting be a blessing, you ask? Well, if you do it enough, chances are you’ll learn not to be scared. Not being afraid in front of large groups of people would be a plus, I think. You see, what I’m really talking about is adversity, or rather the opportunity to overcome it, can be a blessing. We’ve all been taught this sort of thing before. The scriptures give many examples of how people have been blessed or how we can be blessed by “enduring to the end” or overcoming adversity.

In my line of work, I have on a number of occasions had to serve as job foreman, with anywhere from one to a dozen other electricians in my charge.  Being a foreman is a job that I’ve never liked.  The raise in pay (usually a whole dollar an hour) never seemed to compensate for the added worry over doing the job right, along with the pressure of getting the job done on time. There are always problems with getting the manpower, equipment and materials you need on time.

My first experience along these lines was a real disaster. When the first phase of the new minimum security men’s facility at the state prison was built, the company I was working for at that time was contracted to wire it.  This involved not only the power and lighting systems, but also some very involved security, communications and life safety systems as well. My boss asked me to be in charge of four of the seven buildings.  Up to that time, I had had no prior experience on jobs of that nature.  In fact, I was still only an apprentice.  I consented and before I knew it, I found myself desperately trying to figure out all these systems that were my responsibility. I was reading from blueprints that were rain-faded and wind-torn because the weather was so bad. The general contractor was literally pouring concrete down our boots as we worked feverishly to stay ahead of them on the conduit work. One conduit left out or plugged with concrete would have spelled big trouble and a great deal of expense to correct.

I was so nervous and uptight that I found I couldn’t eat my lunch. I was actually sick to my stomach with worry. I couldn’t sleep at night. I was a nervous wreck. After a few weeks of this, I called my boss one night and told him I couldn’t go on. He would have to find someone else to take my place. He did and I got my sanity back, but I’ve regretted that I didn’t stick with it. What a tremendous growing experience this could have been for me had I been able to “endure to the end”.

Several years have passed since that awful prison job and I’ve been in somewhat similar circumstances a few times. Although I haven’t quit, I’ve never really gotten used to being a foreman and I avoid it all together whenever possible.

About a month ago, I was called into the office and asked to run a job. I thought, oh brother, here we go again. Next the boss starts telling me how important this job is because we’re looking forward to the people we’re working for to throw us a lot more work in the future if we perform well on this job.  That’s all I need, more pressure. One of the reasons I agreed to be the foreman was because he said we had three months to get the job done.

Shortly after I arrived on the job site, the general superintendent informed me we had three months to do the job, but that was two months ago. It took the lawyers, owners and engineers the first two months to get the paperwork done. We only have one month left!

That day, lunch was a little hard to get down. That one month is over in four more days. There’s a chance we might not finish on time. But whether we make it or not, I feel good because I managed to “endure to the end” and just did the very best that I could. The feeling that gives me is downright terrific. What a blessing trials and tribulations can be!

We’ve all had problems at one time or another that we thought at the time were insurmountable.  How did we handle it?  How about the times that we’ve given up?  How does that make us feel?  What a difference it makes when we persevere or “endure to the end” and win! Even during the times when we don’t give up and lose anyway, we still learn a valuable lesson. It’s not the end of the world! The sun will still rise the next day.

We should thank our Heavenly Father for this wonderful life He’s given us and all the problems that come with it. When we are faced with adversity, we should wipe the frowns from our faces and the tears from our eyes and with appreciation in our hearts for a God that loves us enough to test us to our very limits. With gratitude we should dive right in head first knowing that all things give experience for our good.

Note:

Scriptures and doctrine examples have been left out due to the length. If you’d like to read it in its entirety, let me know and I will email it to you. My email address: Barbara@UnitingCaregivers.com

Learning By Example

Watching You Grow

I thought Joyce Maynard’s quote went well with last Sunday Story, Dad Creating Beauty After Tragedy – Part II. Katie said, “My dad has taught me the keys to happiness through his example. He chooses to be happy by having a sense of humor, being productive, forgiving, grateful and maintaining hope.

 

 

Joyce, an Angel in Our Home

Written by, Barbara Larson

First of all, I want to thank this wonderful website and those involved with it. It is inspirational and healing, for those of us who are or have been caregivers to those we love.

Barbara & Joyce 2My name is Barbara Larsen and I grew up with seven other siblings in a small home in Salt Lake City, Utah.  We didn’t have much but we were very happy. I shared my bedroom with 3 of my sisters. My sister, Joyce was the fifth child and two years older than I. She was born with Down Syndrome and her mentality only reached that of a 4-5 year old. She was very challenging for my parents, as I remember her tantrums and nothing would control them. She scratched herself and made herself bleed. She wasn’t potty trained until age nine along with many other complications.  There was never any complaining. My parents did get
frustrated, but the love shined so bright it would wipe away the frustration.

Joyce CupcakeI grew to love my special sister and I remember the day I told her I would always take care of her.  As my parents grew old it was hard for them to take care of Joyce and they worried about who would take of her when they passed away. I assured them I would take care of her, only remembering the good times, when her sweet personality made me laugh, and how much fun she was to be around. I thought about how great it would be to have her with me.  I pictured it like a Cinderella story.

Larson Family,Joyce & ParentsMy dad passed away in 2007 and a year later my mother needed extra care from a fall she had taken. Her leg would not heal, so she went to a care center and Joyce came to live with me, my husband, Leroy, and our six children age ranging from seven to eighteen. My sister was about fifty-three at the time, which is considered old for a Down Syndrome person.

It was wonderful for a year. Joyce would go everywhere with us and my kids would play with her. I taught music lessons and she loved listening to the music. Our boys were active in sports and she enjoyed going to the school sporting events and watching them play. Our girls were in choir and drama and Joyce was delighted to watch them participate in programs and plays. She was just part of the family and we loved it. There were challenges that first year, but we enjoyed having her with us.

Joyce ChristmasThe following year her seizures became more frequent and she needed 24 hour care. My Cinderella story wasn’t happening. This was the hardest thing I have ever done. I still had young kids at home, busy with school activities and I taught music lessons. How was I going to do this?  I remember the days I was frustrated, and would always think of my mom and dad and their example of patience and love, and it helped me through it. Also humor helped us get through the trying days. My children learned to love and serve her. They did things I would never have asked them to do. It was amazing how serving Joyce brought out the best in everyone.

I also turned to siblings who would give me breaks by taking her during the day and sometimes on weekends so I could just be a mom. I let half my music students go, which relieved some of the pressure, but Joyce didn’t want to eat anything. Everything made her sick. She had no control over her bladder and I was changing her quite often. She had seizures regularly, and I sometimes felt I couldn’t take it another day.

Well, that day did come when my youngest son had been in a serious boating accident at Lake Powell and had to be life flight to Primary Children’s Hospital which was 388 miles away. This caused him and me post-traumatic stress. I remember the day I lost it with my sister and yelled at her. She didn’t deserve it. It made me so sad I cried as I hugged her and said how sorry I was. I began to fall apart because of all the stress. Exhausted, I finally told myself I couldn’t handle everything any longer.

I will never forget the day I had to tell my angel sister good-bye as my sister in-law drove her to the care center. I felt like a failure. I thought, Why couldn’t I do it? My mom took care of her. What was wrong with me?  I cried many times about this.  I visited her often at the care center watching her slowly deteriorate was tough. My angel sister passed away about 1 ½ years later.  It has taken me a long time to look back and be okay with all that happened.

I want others to know that it is okay if you become frustrated, as long as it’s dealt with in a positive way. It’s okay to say “I can’t do this anymore.” Find outside help, because sometimes it is the best solution.  It’s okay, if it comes to a point you can no longer take care of your loved one in your home. Let the professionals do it. There came a time when I knew others could take better care of Joyce than I could. It was difficult to let her go, but we still loved and supported her at the care center even though it was hard to watch her slowly leave us.

Barbara & JoyceAfter all this, as I look back, I still feel her presence in our home. She blessed our lives so much and I would do it all again. The only things I would have changed are my expectations and the realization she wouldn’t be around much longer, so enjoy the time I had with her.

My husband and I, along with our six children have been changed for the better by having the opportunity to care for our Joyce.

In loving memory of Joyce Dibble.

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Barbara,Leroy, Joyce & Mom

Thank you Barbara for sharing your touching story. I don’t believe Joyce, is the only angel in your home—you are also. She was so lucky to have so many people love and care for her. What a great example you are and a huge difference you made in Joyce’s life. You are an angel sister.