Elysha's World

Elysha's World

Friday, October 31, 2014

Elizabeth Smart and My Story

This week has been a really interesting week for me. A few months ago my friend suggested I read this book and I just finished it. It was “My Story” by Elizabeth Smart. I’d heard about this book, but apparently it’s in very high demand at the library. I went this summer to try and check it out, but the book had 22 holds on it, and the audio book had 13 holds on it. It’s a fairly new book and was published in 2013. 

I guess I should clarify that I didn’t actually read this book; rather I listened to it throughout the week when I was cooking dinner or cleaning my room. It is a really emotionally heavy book, and I could only listen to one CD a day. It was hard to listen to, but I found in the first few chapters that I really enjoyed the writing style. I looked at the cover, and sure enough, my favorite LDS author Chris Stewart helped write this book. I think if I were ever to write any type of biography of my life, I’d definitely ask him to help me. He wrote my favorite book series called “The Great and The Terrible.” 

Elizabeth Smart read the book herself, and it was really interesting to hear her intonation and to hear her put emotion into certain scenarios in the book. She is a very strong woman. I was impressed that she decided to write a book about the horror she went through at such a young age, and I’m guessing it was very therapeutic for her as well.  It’s got to be hard to have a lot of horrible things happen to you, and then to know that the entire world knows about all of the intimate details about what you went through. Even if she hadn’t written a book, curious people could read through the court documents. 

To help me connect with her as she read the book, I tried to imagine what her life must have been like. She’s three years older than me, and while I’ve never had to endure anything like what she went through, I found some things in my life to use as a reference as a measurement of time.
She was kidnapped for nine months. While I wasn’t kidnapped I did serve an LDS mission, and was in Taiwan for nine months. It must have been hard for her to just sit around and not be able to talk to anyone in that time. I was lucky to have companions with me for those nine months, but I couldn’t communicate with anyone around me for about six months. While I was with people, I didn’t know Chinese and they didn’t know English.  Nine months is a long time to be far away from your family and loved ones. 

She was fourteen years old when she was kidnapped. I don’t remember exactly what it feels like to be fourteen, but I remember what it’s like to be twelve. That’s how old I was when my parents split up. That’s not the same as being kidnapped and living in the woods, but it did shake my world.
As I was listening to her story, I thought about the day she was found. It was one of those days where I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing. I was sitting in a long hallway outside of a counselor’s office. During my parents’ divorce we were court ordered to talk to a counselor. My sisters and my mom had gone in together and I was left alone in the hallway.  I was bored, and so I was eavesdropping on a phone conversation that was going on in another room, “Did you hear that Elizabeth Smart was found?” I remember that I was shocked and excited. She’d made it! I didn’t follow her story closely, but I feel like it was something that a lot of people talked about. 

It was kind of interesting to go back in time with her. I liked that her story revolved around God and her family. I like that she never gave up hope, and her book was kind of uplifting and empowering. I thought about some of the darkest times of my life, and my faith in God and the thought of my family are always the things that help me pull through. I thought of a time where I’d felt maybe a little bit of what she’d felt. A time when I felt alone, far away, confused, and misunderstood. During this time I learned a lot about what faith and patience really are. 

I thought I knew what patience was
I learned it every day
It’s finishing eating all my food
Before I go out and play

I thought I knew what patience was
It’s getting quite upset
So people will do just what you want
And feel they’re in your debt

I thought I knew what patience was
For two years I’ve been gone
And as I visit all my friends
I’ve found they’ve all moved on

I thought I knew what patience was
It’s sitting in anguish and fears
Instead of facing the problem
Which will only end in tears

I thought I knew what patience was
Dinner is nice and hot
You didn’t come, you didn’t call
I guess you just forgot

I thought I knew what patience was
Enduring to the end
Waiting for my enemy
To somehow end up friend

I thought I knew what patience was
Nine months was quite the wait
I guess what’s just a few days more
Because you’re coming late

I thought I knew what patience was
When they finally said, “You’re hired!”
Who knew that in a few short years
They’d turn and say, “You’re fired!”

I thought I knew what patience was
While finding rhymes to write this poem
Sitting in a foreign land
Miles away from home

I thought I knew what patience was
I thought I’d learned that part
But when you think you’ve reached the end
It’s really just the start
1-31-12 Elysha

In her book, Elizabeth Smart talks about some miracles that happened to her while she was being held captive. One night when she’d not had any clean water for a very long time, she woke up from sleeping to find a yellow cup filled to the brim with clear cold water. She drank all of it before she fell back asleep. She took that as a sign from God that he was still with her and watching out for her. Her captors obviously didn’t give it to her, it was a miracle. 

I remember a time last year when I was having a really hard time. I didn’t feel like my life had any direction to it, and I felt like it didn’t really matter what I was doing. I was home from a mission, I was single, I had graduated from college, and I wasn’t really sure what I should be doing. I had a part time job and I just wanted the Lord to answer my prayers and tell me what I should be doing. I’d applied for at least 20 different full time positions, but I couldn’t even get an interview. I felt lost and confused. 

One day, I was walking down the hall of the university where I worked at and I felt the need to look up. I looked up and right in front of me hanging from the ceiling was a sign that said “Be Patient.” That’s all it said. The sign was actually talking about construction, or something like that, but I took it as a sign from my Father in Heaven that I needed to stop trying to control everything, and just let Him take the lead. I was always trying to take the next step, but I think He was telling me to slow down and let things happen the way they were supposed to happen. 

I think this is a lesson I’m constantly learning. I’m not perfect, but I feel a lot more peace in my life now, and I’m just trying to enjoy each day as it comes. I love this thought by President Uchtdorf about patience.  

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