my struggle may not be harder than yours... in your eyes...

in my ethics class, we have been talking a lot about a vast number of touchy subjects. i often leave class frustrated and sometimes annoyed because it seems as though some of the older people in the class feel as though if "you haven't had my experiences or the experience of a 104 year old, then you don't know what you're talking about." 

as we were debating the ethics and morals of certain subjects this comment was made:

"you don't know what struggle is because you've never been a parent."

i was infuriated. i sat fuming in my seat with my hands under my hind-end, so as to not wave it in the air like a mad woman in order to have the next comment be mine and one that i might regret because i didn't have time to calm myself down in that moment. 


, i have never been a parent. i'm certain that being a parent is hard. but that doesn't mean i've never experienced anything difficult in my life.

i have watched as a young couple tried desperately to have a child. 

i've watched young children grow up in single parent households. 

i've watched teenage siblings grapple with the divorce of their parents.

i've watched young married couples fight for their marriage. 

i've watched a young mom miscarry a baby.

i've watched old married couples fight for their marriage.

i've witnessed failure.

i've watched young men and young women battle addictions.

i have watched as parents have struggled with a wayward child. 

i've seen kids live in less than desirable circumstances.

i've watched young single adults date for many years without getting married. 

i've seen parents lose a child; i've seen siblings lose a brother.

i've witnessed bullying in many forms-- straightforward and masked; in person and online.

i've watched family members and friends grow old.

i've witnessed depression cripple people.

i've watched family members and friends pass on.

i've watched as a little boy lost his best friend to cancer.

these are just a few of the struggles i have personally seen or experienced in my very sheltered and blessed life. but it would be incredibly rude and incorrect to say that those struggles didn't count or don't count because they had never been parents, or had never been in an accident, or had never had cancer, etc. 

that list is just the struggles that i have seen and noticed. that doesn't include all of the struggles that go untold or unheard or even the struggles that are ignored.

this picture is from a photography class i took. it was a portfolio on depression. the fabric over the girl was symbolic of the unseen struggle of those battling depression. in other photos from the series, she was bound in pieces of fabric that were thick and dark. but when it came time to show what others see, i chose to use something less thick and white/see through because most of the time, that's all we want to see. we want the struggle of others to not be "as hard as ours" or to be something that they can just "get over on their own." but it doesn't always work that way.

"And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep, if the billowing surge combine against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good. The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than He? Therefore, hold on thy way..."

{Doctrine & Covenants 122: 7-9}

friends, we all struggle. our situations are not higher or lower on the struggle scale. some people deal with hard situations better than others; some people's struggles cripple them. but, "are we not all beggars?" {Elder Jeffrey R. Holland;

Are We Not All Beggars

; October 2014}

we were not put on this earth to walk alone-- that includes walking with someone


letting someone walk with us. our experiences are to help us to help others but on the flip side, the experiences of others are to help us too.  

life is hard enough. we shouldn't have to feel as though our struggles aren't hard enough to matter. we shouldn't have to feel as though our experiences aren't experienced enough to be shareable. 

comparison is a weird sickness that's going around these days. we compare


. phones, shoes, clothes, bibles, and now struggles. 

let's cure the comparison sickness by being grateful for what we


have. let's cure it by helping our neighbors. let's cure it by letting others help us too.  let's cure it by trying a little harder to be a little better every day. let's cure it by being kind.

"[God] shall consecrate thine afflictions for thy gain."

{2 Nephi 2:2}