Tuesday, April 29, 2014

To My Future Daughter: It's Okay.

Hey there. I know I haven't met you yet and it will be a while before I do, but I'm excited for that day. I already know I love you. Your dad loves you. As I sit here thinking about what you will look like and what your personality will be like, I wanted to make a list of things I'd like you to know and understand as you grow into a strong woman.

1. I want you to know that our love for you will never change, no matter what you choose to do.
You can be shy or outspoken; that's okay. We still love you.
You can be involved in music, sports, or drama. Or you can love to read; that's okay. We still love you.
You can be happy or sad; that's okay. We still love you.
You can have a ton of friends or a few close ones; that's okay. We still love you.
You can do well in school or you can struggle; that's okay. We still love you.
You will make mistakes; that's okay. We still love you.

2. I want you to know you are beautiful the way you are, no matter what you think.
Whether you struggle with acne or you are having a bad hair day; it's okay. You are beautiful the way you are.
If the world tells you that you need the latest fashions or more makeup to look prettier; it's okay. You are beautiful the way you are.
Whether you are a size 20 or a size 2; it's okay. You are beautiful the way you are.
When you feel like you will never be enough; chin up, it's okay. You are beautiful the way you are.

3. I want you to know you can do hard things, even when it seems impossible.
You might be in pain; it's okay. You can do hard things.
You might have a mountain to climb; it's okay. You can do hard things.
You might need to change friends; it's okay. You can do hard things.
You might be faced with a difficult choice; it's okay. You can do hard things.
You might feel worthless; it's okay. You will find your worth. You can do hard things.
You might not want to live anymore; it's okay. You will find strength to keep going. You can do hard things.

4. I want you to know you have a choice, even when it's difficult.
You may not want to continue piano lessons or soccer; it's okay. You have a choice.
You may want to branch out and travel the world; it's okay. You have a choice.
You might find yourself pressured into decisions (by your friends or even us); it's okay. You have a choice.
You will have a boyfriend one day. He may ask you to do something you're uncomfortable with; it's okay to say no. You have a choice.
You might not want to be living the life you're living; it's okay. You have a choice.

5. I want you to know Heavenly Father loves you unconditionally and always.
You will feel overcome with awe and peace at times; it's okay. Heavenly Father loves you unconditionally.
You will feel overcome with sorrow and sadness at times; it's okay. Heavenly Father loves you unconditionally.
You might feel like you don't belong; it's okay. Heavenly Father loves you unconditionally.
You might feel like no one loves you; it's okay. Heavenly Father loves you unconditionally.
You might not love yourself; it's okay. Heavenly Father loves you unconditionally.

I want you to know you can dream big and be anything you want to be! Don't limit yourself because you're afraid of failure. You will fail, but you will pick yourself up and keep moving because you know: We still love you. You are beautiful the way you are. You can do hard things. You have a choice. And most importantly, your Heavenly Father loves you unconditionally. Everything is going to be okay, because you are you.

Love, Mom

For my Husband: I Thought I Loved You

Dear James,

It has been nine months since we were married and sealed in the Idaho Falls Temple. And what a wonderful 9 months it has been! It has gone by so slowly, yet so quickly. We have struggled, laughed, prayed, and played together. Nine months ago, I thought I loved you so much that I couldn't fathom it getting better. I loved the way you made me laugh, the way you told me your hopes and dreams, and the way you helped me feel beautiful. I knew I wanted to be with you forever. We got married on the only rainy day in July, but the rain didn't stop us. It's kind of how our relationship has been all along. We have experienced dark spots and rainy moments in our marriage, but we help each other get through it, and the sun always seems to shine. I know dealing with my pain, blindness, and headaches has not been easy for either of us, but you are always so patient and kind about everything, even when I get frustrated. Your forgiving nature and patient spirit have taught me how to be better, and my love for you has grown more than I thought it could. I thought I loved you 9 months ago. But now I realize even more what love is. I know it will just continue to grow as we experience even more of what life has to offer like a children, a home of our own, and growing old together. I don't think I will ever be able to say I truly know what love is until I'm 85 years old and still holding your hand. I am so blessed to be by your side on this journey! Thank you for still making me laugh, (even when I don't feel like it) still talking about our hopes and dreams, and for making me feel beautiful every day (even when I feel like such a mess). Thank you for being the right person for me. I love you so much and can't wait to see what all these next years hold for us!

Love, Your Lisa Shalee

Saturday, September 3, 2011

His Hands

The past three and a half years for me have been an incredible journey of trial and heartache, but also of healing, learning, and love. I can see how much my Heavenly Father has blessed me – He has given me a wonderful family to love, great friends who understand me, and most of all, He has blessed me with a Savior, Jesus Christ. In Alma chapter 7:11-12, it talks about how the Atonement is not only for our sins which we have committed, but it is also for our pains and afflictions. I know that my Savior has felt every single moment that I’m in pain, and He has felt all of those nights of sorrow when I have cried myself to sleep because of the burden which I carry. Knowing that my Savior has felt it too – makes it so much easier for me to bear the burden and carry the trial. When I feel broken, He is the One who picks up my shattered pieces and puts me back together. Because of His unconditional love, I know that He is leading and guiding me through my life. I love Him so very much, and I know He has me encircled about with his love. I am struggling right now with bearing the pain and blind spells, but I am getting by, because all I have to do is remember how much Heavenly Father has blessed me with, and then I have more strength to make it through.

I want to share with you an experience I had just over a year ago. I’m not exactly sure why I’m meant to share this now… I haven’t shared this with too many people, but I feel prompted to share it with you – hopefully the Spirit will portray my words in a way that will touch your heart and you are able to feel and understand what it is that you are meant to learn from this.

Just about a year and a half ago, I was sitting in Sacrament meeting – in Red Wing, Minnesota (I was receiving treatment from Mayo Clinic in Rochester, and the Red Wing ward is where I had some dear childhood friends and teachers.) It was my first time back to sacrament in quite a while, over a month and a half; I had been missing sacrament meeting because of the especially severe headache that was plaguing me. As the sacrament was being passed, I started to ponder what it means to me to partake of the sacrament, this symbol we have of Christ’s body and blood that was bruised and spilt for us. As I took the bread and passed it on, it was like my eyes were opened up to a vision right in front of me. It was almost like watching a movie – some parts were blurred, and some parts were clearer. Sometimes I could see an entire scene, and sometimes I could only see a small portion of the big picture. At first, I saw a man, kneeling at a rock – in the manner of praying. Then the vision zoomed in, and I caught a quick glimpse of Christ’s face, before the vision zoomed in on His hands. They were clasped onto the rock, gripping it tightly, and they were shaking as blood poured from each pore on His body. I knew what I was witnessing was the beginning of the Atonement, at the garden of Gethsemane. But all I could see were His hands – grasping that rock so tightly – I knew He was in so much pain, and that He wanted to give up – but He didn’t. He held fast to the Father’s plan for Him, even when it hurt… even when it was so excruciating, He never gave up. I watched His hands grasp that rock, over and over, He was scraping His palms on it, but I knew that was because of the pain He was feeling. All I wanted to do was to grasp His hand, let Him know that I was there, helping Him, giving Him more strength to make it through. I wanted to shout toward Him, telling Him it would be all right, and thank Him for what He was doing for me. But my lips were unable to move, my mouth was unable to speak. Then the vision changed multiple times, flashing scene after scene. I watched the hands of Judas, passing the leather bag of silver into dirty hands. I watched the hands of Pilate, as he washed them in a bowl, flicked them clean, and dried them on a clean white towel. Then I watched as my Savior’s hands were tied together and pulled up – they gripped the rope which tied them so tightly – I knew that this was the time when His persecutors stripped his back, and whipped him with a leather whip, that had shards of sharp rock and metal hanging from the end. I knew they were placing the crown of thorns on His head, because I could see His hands tighten their grip even more on the ropes which bound Him. I could feel a tiny part the agony that He felt. I never saw them strike Him, I only saw the zoomed-in, blurry-edged version that only allowed me to see His hands gripping the rope. But I knew deep within myself what they were doing to Him. And I also knew deep within myself that the ropes which bound Him on earth could not bind Him forever. Then the vision changed again. This time I watched as they grabbed one of His hands and straightened His arm against the wood beam He was laid upon. Then, to my horror, I watched as they picked up the spikes, about ¾ of an inch round and about 6 inches long, and they set them on His hands – again, I wanted to cry out and yell at His tormentors, “You don’t know what you’re doing! That is Jesus Christ, the Savior to each one of you, and you’re about to kill Him!” I wanted to grab the man that held His hand flat to the beam, push him aside and take care of my Redeemer. But I could not speak or move. Then I watched the hammer, more like a wooden mallet, come down… and as it came down, almost in slow motion, the head of the mallet changed… and I flashed through experiences of my own life – the time I disobeyed the Spirit, and because of that, a woman fell and hit her head and started bleeding. Slam! The mallet hit, and I could hear the bones in His hand break. My eyes widened as I watched the dreadful scene. The time I snapped back at my mother, and didn’t recognize the hurt in her eyes. Slam! The spike drove in even further, my own sins on the end of the mallet. The time I felt jealous of my friends who didn’t have to live with such pain. This time I shook my head, and tried to close my eyes, but the vision was still there. I couldn’t leave it. I watched the mallet slam into His hand a final time… the vision suddenly zoomed in on the face of the persecutor holding the mallet… and I saw my own eyes and face staring back at me. The vision closed, and I burst into tears right as the water was being passed to me – it seemed as if the time of the vision had been hours, and the time on earth had been only a few minutes. I put the sacrament cup to my lips and drank – with a depth and a fire burning in me so strongly it almost took my breath away. I realized the gravity of the Atonement. I realized just what I had done to my Savior, and I realized exactly what Jesus Christ, my Lord, Savior, and Redeemer has done for me and does for me each day. The words, “Forgive them, for they know not what they do,” resonated in my mind’s ears the rest of the day. I realized that each time I make a mistake or sin, I am the one driving that mallet into my Savior’s hands. And yet, He forgives me each time, He forgives each blow that I slam into His hands and feet, because He loves me. He loves me with a love so deep and strong that I could never sing enough praises to Him.

Without these headaches, I would have never known my Savior, truly know Him. I am so blessed each day that I have the relationship with Him that I do – and I would challenge you to seek out a better relationship with Christ through your own prayer and scripture study. I know it’s hard to do sometimes because of your own pain, challenges, and trials you’re wading through. But I know it is possible. And I know as you DO strive to seek a greater understanding of Christ and His atonement, I know your heart will “sing the song of redeeming love” as it says in the scriptures. You will feel power from on high, and you will become ever more the son or daughter He wants you to be. Your joy will be full, and peace will come.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Has the Day of Miracles Ceased? No!

I have been taught by numerous chronic pain specialists that letting others know I'm in pain, or talking about my pain can actually increase the amount of pain that I have. It also prevents me from talking with people about normal, everyday things, and building strong relationships/friendships with others. So, I've learned to "fake it 'til I make it", put on a face, and pretend like I'm not hurting when I am. And it has worked! It keeps me focused on my goals, dreams, and what I'm striving for, instead of the fact that I will be in pain my entire life. It helps me focus on serving those I'm talking to, instead of always talking about my pain. I've gotten so good at this, that most of the time, my own family doesn't know I'm in a 10 out of 10 amount of pain unless I tell them. I have taught myself to only show good emotions: happiness, excitement, peace, and love. When a bad emotion surfaces, I push it to the back of my mind and find something good to talk about. This frame of mind, this independence, has been healthy for me. I show strength where there was weakness, I can build relationships with people without my pain being constantly the topic of conversation, and I learn to seek for the good in all things. It has been a blessing in my life.

But this frame of mind, this independence, has been unexpectedly harsh and even detrimental at times. Last night, I was driving home from the high school with a severe headache - the kind of headache that makes me immediately shut all the lights out and go straight to bed. It felt like there was a clamp around my head that was getting tighter and tighter. I tried to calm myself down and relax. I told myself, "It's ok, Lisa, you don't have much farther to go." Right at this point, a wave of pain hit so intense it made me almost double over. My vision started getting black spots and going blurry. I gripped the steering wheel tighter and tighter. I didn't know what to do. I have had this happen to me a couple of times before, but I had never been in the car alone. I pulled over - and thought about the people I could call: my mom, my friends. At this point, my vision was completely black - I couldn't see my phone to call someone. No one knew I was in so much pain because I had become so accustomed to not telling anyone. I instantly wished I had told someone just how bad my headache was before I left Rigby. I had never felt so alone and scared. So, reaching out in absolute faith, I prayed, out loud, with my hands still white-knuckled around the steering wheel. I could hear the cars passing beside me on my left. Through my tears and trembling voice, I said, "Heavenly Father, tell me what to do. I can't see. Please help me." Immediately my vision cleared - as if someone had opened the blinds in a dark room. My pain also decreased. I felt peace and love. I knew that I was not alone. Even when no one knew what had happened to me, my Heavenly Father had seen me in my time of need, and blessed me because of my faith. Miracles do happen in our day.

I got back onto the highway and drove to the Idaho Falls temple. I parked in the parking lot and prayed the most heartfelt prayer of gratitude. The tears covered my face and hands once again, as I realized just how blessed I was. I know that Heavenly Father is watching out for each one of us, no matter what we're going through or how insignificant we feel. He loves us, and as we turn to Him in faith, our eyes will be opened to His miracles.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

You Are Not Alone

This post is actually part of a letter I wrote to a friend who was struggling. It applies to everyone who is struggling with trials, heartache, pain, and even despair. If you are dealing with a trial or test right now, read this, because it applies to you. Know that you’re not alone in your suffering! Read it slowly and ponder as you go. I pray that these words might bring you some comfort and peace.

"There are tons of people around you... watching you. Counting on you to make the right choices. They are giving advice, pushing and pulling you in different directions; telling you what they think is best for you. Your parents, your leaders, your friends, even your family. It is difficult to find the light amongst this commotion. There comes a point when you have to just shut everything out for a while. Forget what people have been telling you... just let go. Find a quiet place where you won't be bothered - and ponder what has been happening in your life. Search within yourself for the answers... and pray. And if you don't feel like praying, pray until you do. Prayer is the key that opens the door to Heaven. But you have to turn that key.

When I think about what you've told me, I envision you in a crowd of people... this crowd of people care about you, they truly do. But you have a hand outstretched, grasping at anyone, searching... But these people can't see that your hand is outstretched... they don't understand what you need. They ignore your pleas, and they talk over you about petty things that have no meaning. They are oblivious to your hand. They are scared to take the time to truly sit and listen. But you are thirsting for someone to just listen. You are craving a compassionate ear, a friend, a person who will forget themselves and focus on you for just a moment. You are positive that it will help you... yet people don't understand what you need. So you sit down in the middle of this busy, familiar crowd with your arms around your knees and just cry. You don't understand the tears, but they come anyway. Why won't someone just listen for a minute? Does anyone truly care? Why can't someone take the time to notice? Isn't it plainly written on my face what I've been through? These are the thoughts that run through your mind as you sit on the ground, invisible to all those around you.

Believe me, I have been that invisible person in the middle of the crowd too many times. I have felt those feelings of heartache and despair. But I can tell you the ending of the story... and I can tell it to you with knowledge, not just belief. As you sit in the middle of the crowd, it begins to rain; the rain mingles with your tears. Sheer emotion makes your body shiver - fear, frustration, and even despair swirl around you. There is only darkness, and hope seems impossible. Then suddenly, at this moment, you see a man walking towards you. The rain stops. He is a familiar face, and though you are invisible to everyone else, his eyes look into your soul - you know he sees you. You look at him with surprise for a moment - he continues to walk toward you. He pauses right in front of you, and you notice his feet have scars. He gently, ever so gently, sits on the ground next to you and puts his arm around your shoulder. You turn to look into his eyes, and you see a tear fall down his cheek. That tear represents his love for you. Pure and sweet, his one tear for you heals all the pain, fear and worry. You talk to Him, and tell Him what you've gone through, and how you feel. You look into His eyes again, and know He understands. He has felt your pain with exactness. He stands up, and takes your hand, and lifts you to your feet. But He not only lifts you up physically, He lifts your soul to a place of understanding, joy, and love. He walks away amongst the crowd, and you stand there for a moment, pondering the reality of what just happened. You know His love. You have found your Friend, your Brother. You smile, and as you walk into the crowd, you can see a girl on the ground, her arms wrapped around her knees, her head bent with heartache. You gently, ever so gently walk to her, sit on the ground, and put your arm around her shoulder. You can see the invisible.

But I promise you... you are not invisible to those who love you. Most importantly, you are not invisible to your Savior. He knows what you have been through. He is ready, with His arms wide open. Not one person has ever had an experience exactly the same as yours. No one has. Aside from the Savior, only you have felt, seen, and heard what you have. And only you can fight this. No matter how much your parents, friends, and leaders want to fight this for you, they can't. Put on your armor... you alone are called to battle. I know you have the strength. I know you have the faith. I know you have Heavenly help, and angels on your side. Believe in yourself. You can do this. It is your challenge, your battle to win. You have been prepared your entire life for this moment... I know it is possible. It will take everything you have within you to fight.... even more than you have. But you can do this. Do what truth requires. And, know that there are thousands of us right next to you fighting our own battles for truth. We are all fighting in our own ways, through our own experiences. But we are all beside you... and when you need a helping hand, we will strengthen you - and lift you up when you falter. We will help you find courage again. Have faith. Remember courage. Fight for truth."

Monday, November 15, 2010

Stake Conference Talk

This is a talk I gave in stake conference 3 weeks ago.

Lisa's Talk – Stake Conference – October 31st, 2010

Not many people have life-changing experiences before they turn eighteen. Not many people get the chance to share their experience in stake conference when they're eighteen. I've been blessed enough to have both of these rare opportunities. About two months ago, I remember saying a prayer and asking that I could receive more opportunities to share my experience: it was that same month that President Poston asked me to speak today, in stake conference. Even though I was extremely nervous, I realized that this was an answer to my prayer – and Heavenly Father had more in mind for me than I ever imagined. I hope that I might be able to speak with the Spirit, and convey the feelings of my heart to you today.

My life has been filled with such happiness! It is not happiness that the world can bring, though – it is the true happiness that can only come through this gospel and living righteously. Even though I have found such wonderful happiness, it has not been an easy journey for me. My road has been filled with boulders, pitfalls, and mountains to climb. It is the road less traveled. But the work, struggle, and storms along the road have proven to be necessary refinement and growth.

In April of 2008, I went on a trip to Disneyland. It was fun – it was where I rode my first roller coaster. We spent the day riding rides, having fun, and enjoying our time as friends. By the end of the night, though, I knew something was terribly wrong. I had severe pain in my head, stemming from my neck. It was unlike anything I had ever felt before. The pain almost had me in tears. I had no idea that it would be the beginning of a headache I would suffer with every day for the rest of my years in high school. I was optimistic and hopeful the first few weeks. Numerous doctors called for tests and procedures. Every test came back normal, which was a huge relief for me, because nothing was seriously wrong. I had injections, IV infusions, physical therapy, and other treatments – but nothing helped the pain long term. I missed a lot of school during these two years of searching. I did the best I could with homebound studies, and I was able to keep my grades up. Eventually, my parents and I were led to the Mayo Clinic hospital in Minnesota, where we stayed for seven weeks, trying to find a diagnosis and treatment plan. I was diagnosed with Chronic Daily Headache. The doctor said that I had gotten whiplash on the roller coaster, and the initial injury healed, but for some reason, the nerves in my head were still firing pain signals. He said it would be a long term condition, but there were things I could do to calm the pain and live a functional life. He told us about a Pain Rehabilitation Center, or PRC for short. It was a three week long program, and it was an all encompassing approach to Pain Management for teens. I got into the program, and it was a grueling process that took work on my part. I was taught how to manage my pain without medication. I learned relaxation techniques to try to calm down the pain. Exercise was an important part of my success in the program. At the beginning of the three week program, I was struggling to make it through the day. At the end of the three weeks, I was doing well at managing my pain. Though it was a long process, I finished the program, and felt better than I had in two years. We came home from Minnesota in April of this year – it has been six months. I still wake up every day with a painful headache. I still struggle every day with doing basic tasks, like lifting a laundry basket. I am not healed completely. But I have learned so much – I would not change anything.

My physical journey during the past two and a half years has been difficult. My spiritual journey has also been difficult but so rewarding. I have passed through the refiner’s fire. There were many long nights when I cried myself to sleep because of the pain. Then there were other nights when I couldn’t cry anymore because the tears wouldn’t come. My body was exhausted and in pain, but I was always fighting. And even when I didn’t have any fight left in me, I had family and friends who fought for me. I remember one night, we were driving home from Idaho Falls. It was pitch black, and raining. I was in so much pain physically, and I had nothing left emotionally and spiritually. I remember sitting in the back of the suburban and crying silently. I was watching the rain stream down the window, and it made me cry even harder. I was done – it was the one time in my life where I came close to giving up. I remember just closing my eyes and whispering, “Please, Heavenly Father, I hurt so much.” I heard a quiet clear voice saying, “Lisa, ask for a blessing. Don’t be afraid.” I instantly felt peace and warmth. I knew that I would be ok. It was midnight when we got home. I fell on the couch, and curled up in a ball. I was in so much pain. The tears would not stop coming. I remember my Dad calling my bishop to ask if he would come help him give me a blessing. He came right over. To get a phone call at midnight to give a sick girl a blessing when you have work the next day – now that is Christlike. My dad and bishop gave me a blessing, and the pain was lessened. I was able to calm down enough to sleep. I know there is greatness in priesthood power.

I never questioned Heavenly Father’s plan for me. I never asked why. I just had faith that I would be ok. I knew that Heavenly Father was taking care of me. I focused on getting through each day. I couldn’t think about the next day or week, because I would get discouraged. I took it one day at a time, praying the whole time. I was constantly pondering and talking with Heavenly Father, saying things like, “Thank you for my family; they really take care of me. Thank you for helping me fall asleep last night, I really needed it. And please help me get through the next hour. Please help me be able to sit through sacrament meeting.” I felt so close to my Father in Heaven and my Savior.

I was given a greater understanding of the Atonement. It is not just for sins, although that is important. It is also for every pain, affliction, sorrow, and struggle we have. I came to see Christ as my Brother, my best friend. I felt His loving presence in my life. I can imagine His hands, reaching out for me, embracing me. I feel safe within His arms.

Within our trials, we must all find courage and faith to keep fighting. I wrote this in my journal last year, “Sometimes I catch myself in a rut... stuck with the wheels spinning but going nowhere. I catch myself slipping up, thinking important the things of no true importance. Thinking my pain is a petition to make everyone stop and take care of me. Thinking trivial gossip has truth. Thinking it's ok to skip scriptures for just one night. But when I get in these ruts, I remember this: I'm only packing my suitcase for my journey after this life, and what I have in it determines my happiness. If I have packed unhappiness, lies, guilt, discouragement, and fear; then sad will be the judgment day, and regret will be my only remembrance of a life crumbling to dust. Those things don't last! But if I have packed faith, courage, strength, prayer, and service, then I will stand with no regret; prepared for the next step in my journey. And that sings sweet music to my ears. My heart is brim with joy at the thought of packing true tools that will help me in this life and whatever eternity holds. I can do this. With the Lord by my side, anything is possible. Words can't describe what I feel. I will keep on going, I will not falter. I have eternity in my sights, and I'm not letting go. Faith, strength, courage, virtue. That is my motto.”
I know that if you have faith, the Lord will lead you where you are meant to be. I am proof of this. If I would not have had my challenges at this time, I know I would not have such a strong belief in this gospel. I know I can do anything! I have courage and confidence now that was never there before.

I know Heavenly Father places people in our lives at the right time and places, just when we need them most. My mom and dad have always let the Spirit guide them to where they needed to be. I am grateful they let that Spirit influence them in their decisions, because it blessed my life. When we moved to Idaho, they were blessed with assurance from the Holy Ghost that this was where we needed to be – right here in Rigby. If we would not have moved here, I would not have been able to be blessed with such a wonderful ward and stake – where people truly care. When I was too sick to really make my own decisions, my parents followed the Spirit through prayer, and we were led to the right doctors. I am grateful for all the countless phone calls we got, with people letting me know that they put my name in the temple, week after week. I am grateful for my close friends who never gave up on me during my difficult times. I am grateful for the young women and young men in my ward that held a special fast for me. I know there is power in fasting. It brings people closer together in unity, and bonds them in love.

I can stand and say with confidence that I know trials are for our good, if we have patience and bear them well. We must lean on our Father in Heaven to guide us in our lives. He will keep surprising us by showing us that He wants to make us more than we ever dreamt we could be.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

My Song

We all have songs in life’s orchestra. The Composer has written my song: a sweet melody filled with intricate phrasing, key changes, and dramatic suspensions; but it is up to me to play what is written. I cannot change the music. I must complete every crescendo and place every finger perfectly because this song was written exactly for me. The Composer guides the direction my melody will take. Each one of our songs is equally beautiful and completely different. I cannot always hear the songs of each person around me, but if I trust the Composer, I know that every person I come in contact with will have their own melody that intertwines with mine and we can create a duet worthy of His praise. We might play our duet for a brief moment, as our paths cross once. Or we might play together frequently; creating harmony and lasting friendship. This I know: as I reach the end of my life and play my final note, I will be able to say that I’ve played with a full symphony orchestra. I will finally be able to hear the complete composition; and I will know that I’ve added my part. I’ve played my song.