A couple nights ago, me and a friend were talking over pancakes and ice water at Denny's. My favorite. Our conversation was pleasant and so was the extra creamy butter and maple syrup. Our waitress was a 50-something woman who seemed she couldn't be more happy with her job. That was refreshing.
Time went on and so did our conversation.
Somehow my friend and I came across the topic of making mistakes. Tears immediately swelled up in her eyes and sheer disappointment and shame came over her face. I honestly have never seen such pain become so apparent to a person's face so suddenly. With difficulty, she expressed to me how she felt when she looked in the mirror every day, and that she feels like she's a "messed up person." She explained to me that she struggles with making the same mistakes over and over again and she feels like she can't ever change that. She literally asked the question, "am I going to be like this for the rest of my life? I am just a messed up person." She went on to explain that no guy is ever going to love her or care for her enough to look past her past mistakes, if she even will be able to stop making them.
I instantly started crying when I heard her say all of these things about herself. I could feel her pain and sorrow just by looking into her tearful eyes. But I also knew and felt the opposite.
Trying to gather my thoughts, I explained to her in the simplest way I could, that she was not, in fact, a "messed up person," and that she can change. How many times has she heard that? Probably a million. So, I struggled through my tears (I decided not to care that I was crying in public, at 11:00pm at Denny's, no less) to explain to her that Heavenly Father literally loves her no matter what. His love for her will always be there. I stopped to think whether I should actually say what I wanted to say next, and I felt prompted to do so, even if it stung her a little.
If she wanted to change, she couldn't do it with sheer will power. She has to be completely honest with herself and with Heavenly Father. (I don't know why that concept has been to prevalent to me lately, it just is.) She can't justify her actions. Lying to herself is exactly what Satan wants her to do. Heavenly Father wants us to see things as they really are, with the eternal perspective. She needs to do what it takes to make changes in her life to move on from her mistakes, even if it's hard. If we learn anything in life, it should be that we can do hard things. That's why we're here. To grow from doing things that are hard with the help of our Heavenly Father and the Atonement of Jesus Christ. We talked about how things will always get better if we trust that Heavenly Father's plan for us is what will make us the happiest. Sacrifice now, a million blessings later.
Her sad tears turned into hopeful ones, and I literally felt a burden being lifted from our table when we talked about having faith in God's plan for us. Our conversation didn't feel like one we would have in Sunday School. It was the real deal. (Sunday School is the real deal too, don't get me wrong.)
I haven't felt closer to Heavenly Father in a long time, and neither has she. I'm grateful that we stopped by Denny's that night. Our waitress even gave us a free brownie with bacon on it to share because we were crying. haha.