Imagine this. You're sitting in a room full of people. It's quiet... you're all thinking about the question that has just been asked. What are your regrets? What are the thoughts and actions that plague your mind? What do you wish you could change? You start to go through every little thing that you've been doing wrong. The list gets longer and longer and you start to feel overwhelmed. All your flaws and faults lay before you and you wonder if you can ever overcome them. The perfectionist within is absolutely freaking out.
You move outside. Symbolic of all those regrets are weights, they sit in a pile practically begging to be picked up. Picked up and carried by you and everyone you're with. They come in all different shapes and sizes, similar to the regrets and individuals that surround you. Which weight should you pick? Will it be too heavy? Will you be able to carry it? How far will you have to go? Your regrets are now more than thoughts in your mind, they become physical weights to be carried by you and you alone. Sure, you're surrounded by friends, all of you carrying regrets, but nobody knows exactly how you feel. The sun beats down, the sweat starts dripping, the silence continues. Will this ever end? Will you ever feel relief?
The end is near. Just when you think you can't go any further, back inside you go. It's cooler there, you're protected from the sun. The bugs can't get you anymore, and would you look at that... there are chairs! The best part is yet to come though... no longer do you have to carry the weight alone. There on the stand is a statue of Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of all mankind. His arms are outstretched and you've been told to lay your weight at his feet. You walk up to Him and hand over your burdens, walking away lighter while He takes on the
load every single person was carrying. Not half of it, all of it.
We did this as missionaries, reflecting on the regrets we have had on our mission thus far. I often worry about how I will feel at the end of my mission. Will I have learned anything? Will I have changed at all? Will I continue to regret those same things or will I had tried harder to change? This experience was exactly what I needed as a missionary who had just reached her half-way mark. It was one of those mighty change of heart experiences, one that empowered me and helped me see that as long as I rely on Jesus Christ, I can do anything! Focusing on the regrets we have is useless. It's important to recognize where change is needed, but dwelling is dangerous and because of Christ, it's unnecessary.
The zone leaders were originally going to assign certain weights to certain people, but we ended up choosing our own, which an elder pointed out, was perfect considering how we often are the ones who weigh ourselves down. We choose to let ourselves be burdened by our past regrets and mistakes, not those around us, and definitely not Heavenly Father. Even when we were seemingly alone, trekking along with our weights in hand and the sun beating down, we were never truly alone. We all had different weights, different regrets, but we were all together, all struggling in one way or another. Sometimes I forget that I'm not the only missionary here or anywhere who struggles. It was cool to visualize that, to see all of us carrying our own weight but knowing that everyone in that entire group was carrying something. Nobody was exempt. Nobody ever is. Life is meant to stretch us, we're here to learn and grow. Trials are an essential, humbling part of this journey we call life.
The power of the Atonement is real. I'm so grateful for Jesus Christ, for His love, His example, and His sacrifice. I'm especially grateful for this experience that has helped me change not only as a missionary, but as a person who is just trying to do her best. These are the type of experiences that help me become who God intends me to be. God has a plan for everyone, mistakes and trials are a part of that plan, but so is The Savior, the one who can help you, me, and everyone. Lay it all at His feet, you don't have to do it alone.