Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Why me?

I am a big fan of the 5th Sunday. My ward's combined RS/Priesthood meetings always leave quite an impression on me. In the past we have set out on impromptu missionary visits and heard from ex-NFL football players who overcame paralysis.

Last Sunday, we heard from a girl in our ward, Bergen, and her mother.

Bergen is blind and almost completely deaf. She doesn't know what her mom looks like, and she relies on her cochlear implant to make sense of the sounds that surround her.

Aside from that, Bergen is a normal 20-year-old girl. She does her own makeup and picks out her own clothes, she studies hard every day so she can stay on top of her class, and she enjoys skiing, writing, and listening to the Beatles.

During that short, 3rd-block hour, Bergen and her mom gave us, their eerily quiet audience, a glimpse into what life is like when you are robbed of one and a half of your senses. Bergen's mom spoke of the anguish she felt when she learned that her three-month-old baby would live in darkness all of her life, and of the way Bergen's strength and adventurousness teaches and inspires people every day.

After that inspiring introduction, Bergen got up with her Braille-written talk and spoke to us in optimistic, matter-of-fact tones with no hint of speech impediment. She said so many things that I wanted to jot down, frame, and mass-distribute to the world. (One of which was "People tend to count their blessings on their fingers and their trials on their calculators.")

It was her answer to one small question that touched me the most, though. I think it's a requirement as humans that we direct these two words toward the heavens multiple times throughout our lives: "Why me?" I thought to myself, if anyone has a right to ask that question, it would be her.

Her answer, paraphrased, was something like this:
When trials overcome us, people tend to ask, "Why me?" I ask myself this question every day. Why do I have two arms, two legs, and ten fingers that produce magic for me every day? Why do I have a family that loves me? Why do I have the light of the gospel in my life?
That was not the answer I was expecting, to say the least.

Rather than sending us all into a "Man, your trials are way worse then mine and now I feel bad for complaining about my trials" pity party, Bergen lifted all of us with her sweet, simple, nonjudgmental words.

I'm looking forward to the next 5th Sunday. I'm not sure that this one can be topped, however.

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