Three cracked ribs. Ripped ligaments in the neck, front and back. Messed up TMJ. Concussion.  Sprains and strains of cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine.  Ouch.  These are my main issues at present.

We were hit from behind by a garbage truck on Good Friday.  My husband has his own set of symptoms, aches, and problems.  Another trial – and another opportunity to learn a thing or two. We are commiserating with one another, but we have to heal individually – he in his way and me in mine. The process of becoming whole and complete is a personalized one, isn’t it?

The crash came without warning, and we were not prepared for it. With the difference in our little totaled Toyota and that big Recycle truck, it’s miraculous that we walked away from it.  We have a lot to be grateful for.

Putting this into a larger, “Big Picture” scenario, I realized these same kinds of symptoms and pains come in the spiritual realm. While some of the ‘growing pains’ are of our own making, many times we are impacted by another’s choice.  We must go through a developing and often painful experience, nevertheless. And although we may help one another along, it is a personal journey of becoming healed – of becoming whole. 

When faced with physical ailments, we go to medical doctors, physical therapists, chiropractors and such, where we may be tended in our healing efforts.  Always, we go to the Master Healer in prayers, seeking relief.  When the ailments are spiritual in nature, that blessing of going to the Master Healer brings us strength, patience, and peace while we’re in the process of becoming a better follower of the One who can best compensate us.  For some trials, we are better prepared than others. And a few hit us like… well, like a garbage truck.

Our prayers to Heavenly Father can bring a kind of comfort that we can never find in this world.  Our individual journey, and our healing, comes by way of our relationship with Diety. When the going gets tough, the wise get down on their knees. While there, it’s a good idea to focus on the good things, no matter how sparse they may sometimes seem.

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin once taught this excellent lesson:

“Will prayers that do not demand much of your thought merit much attention from our Heavenly Father? When you find yourself getting into a routine with your prayers, step back and think. Meditate for a while on the things for which you really are grateful. Look for them. They don’t have to be grand or glorious. Sometimes we should express our gratitude for the small and simple things like the scent of the rain, the taste of your favorite food, or the sound of a loved one’s voice. Thinking of things we are grateful for is a healing balm. It helps us get outside ourselves. It changes our focus from our pains and our trials to the abundance of this beautiful world we live in.” (“Improving Our Prayers,” Liahona, Aug. 2004, p. 18.)

My hubby and I are genuinely grateful that we were able to walk away from our demolished car.  We have rejoiced in the fact that we’re considerably better than we could be.  Good care by doctors, thoughtful gestures from neighbors, prayers and kind messages sent to us are what some might call little things. To us, they are huge. So are ice packs and muscle relaxers, right now. We are reminded to keep focused on the things for which we should be grateful.  It is “a healing balm.”

That same healing balm is available each time one of us encounters the next ‘problem’ in life. Maybe it is just the ticket to teach us an integral principle that will benefit us for the rest of our journey here. Maybe it’s an opportunity to give away a habit or problematic issue that is holding us back from more complete personal healing. Separating the ‘hard thing’ from our emotional reaction, we might see a new way of making our individual relationship with our Father, and with our Savior, more whole.

When our crashes come, regardless of their nature, what a gift we have in focusing on the eternal things that help us bounce back, stand our ground, or lift us higher.  In the trials of spirit and body, we find the abundance in this world as we prepare for a far better one to come!