Monday, December 20, 2010

Bearing the seemingly unbearable

Each of us, at some point in time in our lives, will bear things that are seemingly unbearable. The reconciliation of our own spiritual truths with our sexual orientation; the loss of someone we love and whose soul has become intertwined with our own; bad news from physicians that predict dire outcomes for us or those we love.

I am no exception. Like you, I have had to endure things that, in the moment, seem unendurable. It is during those times, I believe, that our true character shines through. We have a choice—we can be bitter about our circumstances, make ourselves victims to life itself, or we can choose to be thankful for our trials. The choice is ours.

I wish I could say it’s easy for me to choose gratitude in the face of difficult circumstances. Often, it still is not. But I have found, though, that focusing on the gratitude not only makes the unbearable bearable, but it also helps me to grow in my faith, in my confidence in myself, and most importantly in the assurance that I am—regardless of circumstance—never without my Savior.

Each and every one of us has dealt with suffering. And, we can be sure we will again—such is the nature of this existence. But we have the opportunity to do more than survive difficulties—we have the opportunity to allow them to help us thrive.

For me, the process of coming to terms with being a gay Mormon was one such “moment.” I found myself brought to my knees, both literally and figuratively. It was clear that my circumstances would not change: I would always be gay, that was never a choice. And I would always be a child of my Father in Heaven—that, as well, was never a choice. The one thing that could change, however, was my own attitude about my situation, and how I chose to understand myself and my Savior. For my Savior alone, the author and finisher of my faith, could provide the deliverance I sought. I had no choice but to place my expectations, desires, my despair as well as my joy, in the hands of my Lord.

And do so, I did.

Today, when I am asked to endure the unendurable, I remember that I am more than my problems. I have been brought through many struggles to be exactly where I am today—and I am exactly where I am supposed to be. My challenges have brought me a wealth of experience that I can put to use for myself, and for others who face similar difficulties. I needn’t fear the challenges of the future, because I know that with the guidance of my Savior I am—like you—capable of handling anything life brings me.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of viewing our lives as a tragedy when we’re contending with what seems unbearable. But if we so choose, we can regard anything that happens to us as a gift from which we can learn and grow. I challenge each of you—whether you’re facing the unbearable now, or in the future—to find something positive hidden within a difficult situation, and allow yourself to be grateful. I believe that, like me, you’ll be surprised at how much a little gratitude can help. 

“And I will also be your light in the wilderness.  And I will prepare the way before you if it so be that ye keep my commandments.  And ye shall know that it is by me that ye are lead.” (1 Ne 17).


  1. I agree with you. I cannot tell you how many obstacles and challenges I have been through to get to where I am today but it is through those challenges that I have discovered my courage, my strength and my ability to persevere. I could not do my job or be the mother that I have been to my son without each and every one of those challenges. It is difficult to see the beauty in each moment when we are facing hard times. It is there and when we are in those hard times there is some lesson to be learned. We just have to look for it. I have found my peace and I know you, too, have found yours.

  2. Thanks, just me. It ebbs and flows--but I wouldn't be human if it didn't. Love your words, your story, and your courage. Most of all, your faith. Thanks for taking the time to read.

  3. I marvel at your positive attitude and am grateful that you are able to share your faith with those around you. May Heavenly Father continue to bless you on your journey through this mortal probation. You are a beautiful person inside and out. Thank you for your testimony, it strengthens mine immensely.
    A mother of 5 young children

  4. Sister Joyner...I am humbled. Thank you for your kind words. Your response brought tears to my eyes--I am just an ordinary man in extraordinary circumstances. I'm honored I could lend you strength through my experience. The honor, however, really belongs to our Savior. I honestly feel as I write these that the words are His--only the keystrokes are mine. Bless you in your busy journey as a Mom of five.

    Last, they are blessed to have a Mom who seeks out ways to strengthen her own testimony. What a wonderful example you are. :-)

  5. Mitch, You may have been in the congregation at a Fast and Testimony meeting on 8/2/2009 in the Denton, Tx 4th Ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The above post in your words mirror the testimony that I bore that day. This is no surprise to those of us that are true to the faith. The words I used include-"If we endure with faith, not only will we survive, but will thrive".

  6. Thank you Mitch. This is something I need to take to heart and let in. I have been seeking for gratitude, and it does help. Now I need to seek it more with my heart than with my head.

    Would you mind if I linked to this post on my blog?

  7. Beautiful testimony, Mitch! Thanks for sharing...

  8. Wendy--of course! Feel free, and thank you for your kind words!

  9. my heart is full... thank you.

  10. Thanks for posting this on facebook. I agree with what you say here, and have to do the same thing as my gay husband of 15 years has decided he has to move on. Sometimes I do better than other times at handling it with courage. Lately has been tough...Valentines day doesn't help, for sure. But I do want him to be happy, and that helps. I know I have angels bouying me up. Thanks again.

  11. Sarah...sorry you're going through what you are right now. Know that you are not alone, that you are loved just as you are, and you are right where you're supposed to be. It will ebb and flow, as all processes do. But yes--you are right--through it all, you have the constant companionship of your savior and your brothers and sisters who have walked this path before you, and who walk it now. Keep the faith.

    Much love to you.