Which is a shame, because October is my favorite month. It's so pretty.
We were sitting together, not saying anything for a while. I was too upset and depressed to talk. I had been crying a little. He asked, "What is going through your head?
My response surprised me.
Nothing you don't know. Just the normal stuff.
This is just normal me. The feelings I feel are becoming more and more "normal." The home that I live in is becoming my "normal" comfortable place of refuge. The thoughts that I fight everyday is just a "normal" everyday inner battle that I have within myself.
I want to defy this normal.
A couple of days ago, I felt impressed to read John 21. I thought that there was something that I was supposed to get out of it, that some scripture would pop right out at me. Maybe it would be a life changing phenomenon that I needed.
But, nothing happened. It was strange.
I've heard the story so many times. I understand the concept of "Feed my sheep" and "Feed my lambs." I understood that Christ was telling Peter to be a missionary and to follow His example. But, I didn't really feel like that's what I was supposed to learn.
It kind of bothered me.
October is another July. It's been kind of tough. I can't pinpoint why, although I do have my speculations.
November first is the start of Christmas for Ross Parrish. That's just how it is. Yes, we were that family that some people think is weird and start getting ready for Christmas before Thanksgiving happens. (Which, by the way, I don't understand why people are like that. It's the HOLIDAYS. I say celebrate what you want when you want.)
November is Ross Parrish's birthday month.
November is when the boys would eat lots and lots of food.
November is when Bill Parrish started putting up the decorations.
December is when the kids would watch all of those Christmas specials, regardless of how old we are getting. Because we are all still young at heart.
December is the big family celebration.
This November and this December, they are not going to be here.
Or next year.
Or the year after that.
What am I supposed to learn about fish and lambs??
Sometimes, you just can't help but ask, "Why?" It's just a natural thing to do. Humans have done it since the existence of time.
Sometimes, there are answers that we receive right away. (Why am I coughing so much? Oh, because I am sick, and I need to go to the doctor.)
Sometimes, there are answers that we don't receive right away. And those are the kinds that can eat away at us.
Which is probably why October is a lot like July. I've asked "why" way to many times.
And we all know that "why" can be a dangerous thing to ask.
And then, it dawned on me...
... It's not about fish. Or lambs.
It's about Peter, and the disciples.
I love Elder Holland's talk about this story from the October 2012 General Conference. He said something that impacted me when I first heard it, and it came back to my mind as I was pondering out what I needed to learn from these scriptures. He spoke about the conversation that the Savior has with Peter.
Jesus asked, three times, "Peter, dost thou lovest me?"
To which, Peter responds, three times, "Lord, thou knowest that I love thee."
I add Elder Holland's words and insight:
"To which Jesus responded (and here again I acknowledge my nonscriptural elaboration), perhaps saying something like: “Then Peter, why are you here? Why are we back on this same shore, by these same nets, having this same conversation? Wasn’t it obvious then and isn’t it obvious now that if I want fish, I can get fish? What I need, Peter, are disciples—and I need them forever. I need someone to feed my sheep and save my lambs. I need someone to preach my gospel and defend my faith. I need someone who loves me, truly, truly loves me, and loves what our Father in Heaven has commissioned me to do. Ours is not a feeble message. It is not a fleeting task. It is not hapless; it is not hopeless; it is not to be consigned to the ash heap of history. It is the work of Almighty God, and it is to change the world. So, Peter, for the second and presumably the last time, I am asking you to leave all this and to go teach and testify, labor and serve loyally until the day in which they will do to you exactly what they did to me.”
That section hit me again today.
Now, if I may explain why this impacted me.
October is a lot like July. (I think I've pounded that enough.) Those unhappy thoughts, those feelings of depression, those days when I just want to give up, and give in... I've allowed them to take over me the majority of the month.
On my mission, I had learned the tools that I would need if and when these kinds of feelings occur. When I came home from my mission, I had received so much strength for me to continue pressing forward.
And yet, this October, I had forgotten these moments of strength and joy, and given in to my natural man to pity and feel sorry for myself.
That's not what the Lord wants for us. No, he does not expect us to be perfect all of the time. But, he does expect us to keep going. And when we do relapse, we need to remember that IT'S NOT THE END. We need to remember we ARE STRONG. He needs people who are strong, who will rely on Him.
It is in our human nature to feel weak.
It is in our spiritual nature to be strong.
I feel that Christ does not want us to go back to what or who we were. He wants us to remember our progress. Sometimes, that is difficult.
Seriously, so difficult.
But, we were made to be able to master difficult things.
We can do hard things. Isn't that so cool?
This "new normal" thing is difficult. And it might be for a little while longer.
And through difficulty comes strength.