Tonight I received a gift from an unexpected source.
I attended a Relief Society meeting billed as a crash course on dealing with depression in yourself and loved ones. I was happy to find friendly people to sit by while listening to subject matter that so directly pertained to my life. I expected to feel emotional, to feel weighed down by frustration and discouragement that the burden of depression is sometimes mine to bear.
But instead I was overwhelmed with contentment and peace, even happiness. As I listened (and surprised myself by sharing a few times) I realized that I have learned important things in the last few years -- things about myself, things about others, things about God's plan of happiness for me -- that have greatly improved my outlook on life. I have done some hard things and survived. I have been in the low valley but now find myself in the mountains. I have learned. I have grown. I have conquered.
From my seat on the back row, I could see how far I have come. And I realized that the ability to appreciate my progress was a gift. So often I feel like I'm taking two steps forward but sixteen steps backward. I feel like the things I do every day with my little kids in my little world make no difference at all. The only movement I notice is the backward movement, or the things I'm not doing or could be doing in a better way. This new perspective was amazing.
I came home from the meeting to a quiet house. Some wonderful friends are staying with us for a couple of days. I have worried that such real-life exposure to my family life might be a straining experience for all of us. Instead, it has been great. As I talked with my friend about the events of the evening, she shared her perspective of my home and family life. She said such lovely things, further validating my impression that I am making progress. Life isn't perfect, but I am making progress. And I feel like God accepts my meager offerings. He is pleased with my work.
Tonight I'm having trouble sleeping, but not because I am worried or afraid or upset. I am overwhelmed with gratitude that I am moving in the right direction. Progress is a beautiful, wonderful thing.