Affliction. My life has had its share of trials. But when I look back, each of the most difficult periods of my life has propelled me into new appreciation of life.
When I was 12, my mom got remarried, and I moved with her and my sister to New York. The changed dynamic of the family was one thing that was hard to deal with, along with hostility at school. I loved church in New York, though. We had great leaders, and it was a very tight-knit group. It was during that year that I first read and finished the Book of Mormon. I knew before the end that it was true, but still took Moroni's challenge at the end, and felt that confirmation, that this book was true, and that it was the word of God.
This propelled my life into a deeper relationship with my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. It was just the beginning of something that has come to have such depth and meaning to me. I love them, I know them, and I am so grateful for all that they are to me, and all that they give to me. I also grew very close to my dad in that time. I'd escape to him, and we would play games together, and he'd just give me the attention I was so desperate for.
Mark also came to me during a time of affliction. It is strange to have a child enter your life not as a baby. Like, I feel this sense of Mark being born to me, but he was 14, but maybe it's more that is when I was born as a mother. When we were born, that was a huge change in my life. I feel like that is when I began to appreciate beauty. I saw in him something I'd never seen before, just a purity and beauty. I used to call him beautiful all the time, and still do on occasion. It was just so awe-inspiring, to behold what I saw in him, as he went through all these difficult things, to see that he had something truly special about him. It made the world more beautiful to me. It made me appreciate snuggling with my nieces more, their laughs, and just what love meant to me.
And then, Janardan leaving me, which actually was not that much affliction, but brought a great deal of relief, but the life that led up to that point was quite painful, and full of affliction. I feel like him leaving is when I came to really appreciate myself. It's when I realized my value, what my life could be like, and that it had not been living up to what it could have been, and that I had given away a lot of the rights to my life, and so it was a big experience for reclaiming myself.
And there has been a lot of healing, and just enjoying life the past year. Dated a few people, had lots of guys tell me I'm beautiful, feeling desired and desirable again. And then finally realizing that I didn't want to be looking for a guy, that I wanted to be found. I wanted to be found by someone who could embrace all the different aspects of me, and the other important relationships in my life. I wondered if such a man existed as I would need, to support me through the things in my life that are far from typical. I thought perhaps I would never be with someone again, but also felt at peace with that, because I knew from experience that it could be delightful to be single, and it was much better to be in that position than to be in a horrible marriage.
But then I got found. I have the ability to see into people sometimes, to look, and see more in them than they see in themselves to a degree. This has been huge with Mark, but I will be able to see into other people on occasion, and sometimes show them something in themselves. I'd never really had the experience myself, but that's what Andrew brought to me. He looked inside, and just told me what he saw, and then I could see it too.
Affliction is the dark parts in the chiaroscuro painting of my life, but these relationships, they are the bright points. I love to love, and it is worth all the affliction I've been through to have these people in my life.