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Most people believe that we have a spiritual side, an emotional and a physical side to who we are. I would say that for my life, the spiritual and emotional side have been somewhere in the middle of the back, nothing special. Where I shone was the physical part of things. I excelled at, or could at least competently play, almost any sport. Even up until last December, I was still participating in many activities, including learning to surf with my daughter Sage. Not easy I might add, but incredibly fun being out in the ocean. I was rarely sick, much never took medication (except for an occasional Advil), I was very blessed.

This year as you know, has been very different for me. Physically, my body has changed, losing 25+ pounds, mostly muscle, lacking energy to naturally get up and down stairs. I doubt I’ve even done 10 athletic activities all year, which is strange because I used to do 10 a week, with kids or friends. I have never been one to look closely in the mirror, but what I see now is a bit discouraging and different from the past. And of course there are these cancer tumors throughout my body, uninvited I might add. God willing, I look forward to the day when I can regain my strength and once again enjoy many of the physical activities that brought me so much joy.

There has been a big decline in my physical life, and yet these past months have given me an opportunity to grow exponentially in the emotional and spiritual department. I guess it was a choice, but the various challenges and to the degree that I’ve never faced before caused more of my character to be revealed. Many of the days here in Europe, it was at the point where I didn’t know if I could handle it anymore, for various reasons. Some of it is just the pure boredom of the treatments, all the way to discomfort and fatigue. Each of us, as we go through life, hopefully continue to have our full character revealed and we become emotionally stronger. This year for me, more than any in my life, I have grown. For that I’m grateful, but it has come and will likely continue to come at a heavy price.

Last but not least, the spiritual side. For most of my life, I was probably average, middle of the pack, good enough. Even when I was first diagnosed, I felt spiritually capable. But as testing and treatments began happening, I knew clearly that what spiritual strength I had was not going to be enough to get me through this trial. I felt it. The difficulty of the trial was moving ahead of where I was spiritually, but how do you grow spiritually?

This has been a very humbling experience. I have asked and continue ask Heavenly Father what more I have to learn. I continue to be taught, then I try and apply what I learned. Just the other day, I had the impression that I was praying with plenty of faith, but not looking, trusting and then letting Heavenly Father provide comfort or whatever I needed. I was just praying really hard. This past week, two wonderful spiritual experiences taught me to be still, look, listen, and let God answer my prayers, according to His will.

I’ve always known that God lives, Jesus Christ is our Savior. I’ve always believed in the scriptures, prophets, the plan of salvation, the Holy Ghost, etc. I would say that now, all of those things have been amplified by a factor of 10. As I’ve been humbled, and became more meek, I feel the Spirit witness to me more powerfully than ever that these things are true.

In summary, for most of my life, the spiritual, physical and emotional aspects of life have been quite steady for me. This year, my physical side took a major hit, but my emotional and spiritual sides have both grown more than I could’ve thought possible. I could make the argument that I’ve had a good year, in terms of personal growth, and we’re only halfway done. But what a price! I still have a long way to go in terms of spiritual and emotional growth, as well as character I just hope that going forward, the price will be a little less intense as I progress through this life.

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