I felt like this talk slapped me on the forehead and yelled, "Pay attention! This is for you!"
Let me give some background: I read a lot. Like, a lot. (I've read 26 books since January 1st.) Since I've been diagnosed, I've used reading for its escapism-- choosing to run away to a book than deal with reality. And it works, for the most part. I get away, and I don't have to face anything difficult or trying.
This idea of life as a story really grabbed me. Here I was escaping to stories for comfort, and not living out my own. When Pres. Uchtdorf introduced his theme, he said:
...[I]n most languages there exists a phrase as magical and full of promise as perhaps any in the world. That phrase is “Once upon a time.”I wrote that last sentiment in my notebook: "Don't we all desire to be the hero or heroine of our own life's story?"
Aren’t those wonderful words to begin a story? “Once upon a time” promises something: a story of adventure and romance, a story of princesses and princes. It may include tales of courage, hope, and everlasting love. In many of these stories, nice overcomes mean and good overcomes evil. But perhaps most of all, I love it when we turn to the last page and our eyes reach the final lines and we see the enchanting words “And they lived happily ever after.”
Isn’t that what we all desire: to be the heroes and heroines of our own stories; to triumph over adversity; to experience life in all its beauty; and, in the end, to live happily ever after?
My personal answer is YES! I want to be the heroine! I want to be Elizabeth Bennet, Anne Shirley, Emma Woodhouse, Cinderella, Clary Fray and, of course, Bella Swan. I want to be them all! I want an exciting story that builds, climaxes, and resolves with myself coming out the other end victorious.
But that victory has to be over something. You can't win if you're not even in a fight. Or if you're not even participating. Pres. Uchtdorf explained that all heroines must overcome adversity. We all must experience sadness and trials before achieving our "happily ever after."
But why? Pres. Uchtdorf answers: "The scriptures tell us there must be opposition in all things, for without it we could not discern the sweet from the bitter. Would the marathon runner feel the triumph of finishing the race had she not felt the pain of the hours of pushing against her limits? Would the pianist feel the joy of mastering an intricate sonata without the painstaking hours of practice?"
In addition, adversity teaches us lessons that we could not learn any other way. In this way, we gain wisdom, strength and depth of character that will aid us in victory.
Pres. Uchtdorf counsels:
My life's story will be written about how I behaved when trials came my way. Did I shrink or run away? Did I stay and fight, refusing to be defeated? I'm choosing the latter. It's a tough choice when some days I feel like I'd rather just do nothing, but I'm going to fight and I'm going to overcome. I'm choosing courage over cowardice. And I think Elizabeth Bennet would do the same.
My dear young sisters, you need to know that you will experience your own adversity. None is exempt. You will suffer, be tempted, and make mistakes. You will learn for yourself what every heroine has learned: through overcoming challenges come growth and strength.