"At times there appears to be no light at the tunnel’s end—no dawn to break the night’s darkness. We feel surrounded by the pain of broken hearts, the disappointment of shattered dreams, and the despair of vanished hopes… We feel abandoned, heartbroken, alone. To all who so despair, may I offer the assurance of the Psalmist’s words: ‘Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning’ (Psalm 30:5). Whenever we are inclined to feel burdened down with the blows of life’s fight, let us remember that others have passed the same way, have endured, and then have overcome.” -President Thomas S. Monson
I have had many dark nights. I think a lot of us have. I’ve had nights where I wasn’t able to sleep until the sun came up. I’ve been awoken by terrible nightmares and bad news. I’ve had to get up and turn a light on in the middle of the night, or sleep in the front room where I could see the street lamp out the window. Light gives us hope. Light helps us see.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about those times. How did I get through it? When it was the middle of the night or I was going through something hard, it felt like there was no way out. It’s an empty, hollow, alone feeling. There is no one to talk to, no one to call, I was totally and utterly alone.
When I've found myself in this predicament there are a few things I’ve done that have helped me. The peace usually doesn’t come flooding in all at once, it takes time to calm my beating heart and trust that the sun will rise in the morning. However I’ve found myself using this pattern time and time again. I know that nights and trials can seem long and dark, but I also know that the sun will rise and bring peace into your life!
1. Pray: Now this might seem really simple. That’s because it is. Praying is an interesting thing. I usually don’t feel peace immediately. Most of the time I feel like I’m still sitting alone in an empty room. However it helps me focus my thoughts and my fears, and it helps to know that someone somewhere is listening. If praying isn’t for you, try meditating or talking to nature. If possible talk out loud. It voids the silence and helps bring your thoughts to life. I tell God that I’m frightened and everything else that I feel that he needs to know. When I finish my prayer, if I still feel darkness surrounding me or I’m not completely at peace, I’ll move on to step two.
2. Read the scriptures: When I was in the MTC Sister Elaine S. Dalton came to talk us. She talked about making decisions and gave us some great advice. Toward the end of her talk she hesitated and then told us she was prompted to tell us to “make a personal scripture list.” She then gave us some of the scriptures off of her personal list. I loved this idea! When you’re in a dark place it’s hard to search for something without a light. However, if you already know where the flashlight is and you have some matches and a candle, it’s a lot easier to start seeing clearly and then continue on to find other sources of light. My original little list has grown into a bigger list. Sister Dalton make a bookmark with her favorite scriptures on it, laminated it, and it’s in her scriptures. She carries it around the world with her. She always has it. I haven’t done that yet, but I have a special place where I’ve written my list down. I’d like to share a few of the scriptures on my list with you. As I grow older my list changes. Some stories become more applicable to my life and have more meaning for me. One of my favorite few scriptures to read is the account of Peter walking on the water. Matthew 14:22-33. I wrote about that story in this blog post Walk on Water. I also really like Matthew 6: 25-30, Doctrine and Covenants 68:5-6, Alma 38: 5, Psalms 27:14, and Moses 7:44. If you don’t have a pair of scriptures near you, you can look these scriptures up by typing them into this website Scripture Search. Usually regardless of how I feel at this point, I continue to step three.
3. Music: If all else fails, I turn up some peaceful music and find a room in my house that has a window and I sit and listen to my music and watch out the window to hopefully see the first few rays of daylight. I love that quiet time of morning, when everything is still. Sometimes I’ll fall back asleep before the sun actually rises, but other times I watch it wake up the world and bring warmth into my home. I may have shared some of these songs on here before. Some of my favorites are in this post Inspirational Music. However I have a few other songs that bring me peace as well.