This past month has been miraculous in unexpected ways. As I wrote recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about the Atonement. I realized this summer that the Atonement was probably the only thing that could heal my relationship with God–I knew the pain was too great for me to muster the faith to trust God again without some kind of help.
So, I started praying. Most of my prayers went something like this: “God I need your help. Things are kind of broken between us, and I’m stuck. I’m in so much pain, and I can’t make it go away on my own. I think I need the Atonement to bless my life, even though I’m not exactly sure how that’s supposed to happen, or if I’m supposed to do anything, or how this all works.”
Mid to late-August, I checked in with myself emotionally, and I realized that the vast reservoir of pain that I’ve been carrying for months years was so diminished as to be almost non-existent. It was quite a shock. There was no single moment when I felt like this changed. There were no direct spiritual witnesses, no definitive answers to prayers. I just woke up one morning, probed the wound (as I do once or twice a week), and realized that it was almost healed. And it felt like it happened out of the blue and on the sly–a quiet change, with no theatrics.
Although I have no direct witness (no voice from Heaven saying “this is God”), it is the only explanation that makes sense. I am bad about eliminating emotional pain from my life. I don’t deliberately hold onto it, but it tends to stay with me for months, even years. I was not capable of removing the emotional burdens that I’ve been carrying–I could barely function when I faced them head on. A higher power is the only thing that could have brought about this change, and within my religious tradition, the Atonement is the only explanation for the enormity of this miracle.
I still don’t fully understand why I had to go through the past three years of my life–a journey to depths I don’t think I fully realized at the time. I don’t understand why the blessings have come now, and so suddenly and relentlessly. Still, I am grateful. Baffled. Awed. Stunned. And grateful.