#1. The very first thing that I learned back when I was sixteen was to always remember the big picture. When I heard that Byron had died, everything else that had weighed on my mind seemed so insignificant. It didn't matter if that certain boy liked me back or if I got asked to the school dance anymore. As busy humans, we tend to get caught up in the things that are directly in front of us. And then we choose to make them bigger deals than they actually need to be. If we just took a step back and thought, "is this going to matter in 1,5, or even 10 years?" probably not.
#2 Unconditional love. I learned this from a very good young woman leader that I had after Byron died. I am still working on it, but I have definitely learned a lot about it. Love people no matter what. And let them know. Love who they are at the time, not who they used to be or who they could be. There is something SO comforting and peaceful when you know that no matter what mistakes you make, there will be at least one person who will love you for you no matter what.
#3 Forgive and forget. I am still working on this, but lately I have tried to forgive quickly. It can be so exhausting holding on to anger and grudges. I used to get so angry and stay up at night thinking about how mad I was at that person. How I could never forgive them. The only person that I was hurting was myself. There is no possible way that a person can have a peaceful spirit if they are holding onto anger towards another person. And why? Why hold onto your pride and allow yourself to have hateful feelings towards someone? The longer you let it fester the harder it will be to let it go. Put yourself in the person's shoes, try to understand where they are coming from, and let it go. There is nothing better than telling someone you forgive them and letting the relationship heal.
#4 Trust in god. We don't know why things happen. Sometimes that is hard. It is hard to let go of the "why". But if we trust in god and put it in his hands, things will work out. Earlier this week, I was having a really hard time with different things. I finally knelt down and said a prayer. Basically I told god that I didn't understand why things had to be the way they were, but I was putting it in his hands. I wanted him to teach me what I needed to learn from my trials, help me be grateful for them, and mold me into the person I was supposed to become from them. The next 2 days after I said that prayer, I felt the most peaceful I ever have since Byron died.
#5 Serve Others. There is so much power in service. Being able to forget about yourself by helping others has so much healing power. This past summer when I volunteered at Primary Children's Hospital, I gained such a testimony of service. I loved Fridays when I got to go up there and forget about the world for a few hours. Serving others is what this life is about. The happiest people aren't the people that sit around thinking about themselves all day. It is the people who wake up and say, "Heavenly father, help me know who I am supposed to help today" and then they listen to those promptings and act. There is always someone that you can serve, you just need to listen to the promptings of the spirit to guide you to those people. And when you do serve them, you will develop a stronger testimony and develop an "attitude of gratitude" like the prophet spoke about in conference.
So there you have it. 5 lessons that I have learned in the past 5 years. Do I wish that I didn't have to go through the trials that I have gone through to learn them? Sure. But am I grateful for trials? Yes. Because, they aren't just trials. They are opportunities for us to humble ourselves and look to god to mold us and teach us from these hard times. Life isn't fair and there are a lot of things that we can't control, but we can control how we react and get back up and fight. One of my favorite quotes goes something like this, "When life gets too tough to stand, kneel".