I stared at the woman as she chattered on in a one-sided conversation. There were three of us seated at the small round table, but my companion and I didn't have much to offer in making small talk. Panic rose in my chest as I realized the woman had asked us a question. Please, please respond to her. I pleaded silently to my companion, hoping she had understood the question. Instead, my companion turned to me with a questioning look in her eyes. Oh no. I felt my mouth start to open. "Um, come?" My dry throat made my voice sound like I'd swallowed cellophane.
Instead of repeating the question, the woman slapped the table with a loud crack!, making both of us jump. Then she started laughing like she'd heard the world's greatest joke.
"Non avete capito niente!" ("You haven't understood anything!") she cackled in amusement.
She sure hit the nail on the head. When will this language stop sounding like Chinese?? As I sat there praying for a response, sudden courage filled my heart. It's okay, sister. She's just a member of the Church and she understands how hard this is. Just speak!
I swallowed hard and tried again. "Mi dispiace. Come?"
Maybe I still wouldn't understand her question today, but I knew that it would make sense one day. God needed me to learn this language to help His children and I wasn't going to give up so soon.
Scripture: Unexpected Answers
Shock rippled through my body as I wandered blindly through campus. With my umbrella clenched tightly in my left fist, I pushed the phone closer to my ear to hear my father's strained voice as he repeated the diagnosis.
"It wasn't his tonsils. They found a large tumor behind the tonsils. It's cancer."
How could this happen? He was only five years old. They told us in biology that tumors took around eight years to develop. This is impossible. My mind swirled in confusion.
Back in my apartment, I was unable to comprehend the horrors unraveling in my world. So I curled up in a blanket and I turned to the one source of comfort that always made sense. I flipped open my worn scriptures at random until I saw something that caught my eye.
"And again, it shall come to pass that he that hath faith in me to be healed, AND is not appointed unto death, shall be healed." (Doctrine and Covenants 42:48, emphasis added)This wasn't the answer I was expecting, but I had received enough answers over the years to know that it was right. God had a plan, as He always does, and He would help me and my family get through this.
Wilderness Quest: Every Step
Sweat dripped down my face as I gazed at the green landscape of Sant'Ambrogio. Dotting the mule path behind us were several crosses, each engraved with a small depiction of Christ gradually being hung on the cross. As we passed each one, we noticed as the small figure trudged up the hill, dragging His cross, as He was nailed and hung, and then as He was taken down from His painful torture. How could He possibly endure it all? I wondered as I continued to trudge up my own hill. The rocks protruded in every direction from the earth, just begging to sprain my ankle. I pressed my palm against my ribs as a sharp pain stabbed my left side. Left, right. Left, right. I chanted to myself.
The trees began to open up to make way for a large, Roman wall. Stones were carefully laid one by one, layer upon layer. To the left, we discovered our reward at last: the resurrected Lord carved into a large white stone. I was reminded of the stone that would have been rolled across the opening of His tomb.
"Wow," I breathed.
"Was it worth it?" some might ask.
Only every step.