The heat was oppressive. I’d never felt so hot and exhausted before, and I wondered if I could last for the next week of rehearsals under the scorching summer sun.

It was the year after my husband drowned.

A friend had told me what a wonderful experience it had been for her family to be part of a summer pageant in Nauvoo, Illinois, so my children and I had applied and had been accepted. We were so excited!

Then, once we’d driven the 1200 miles, and daily rehearsals had begun, I wondered if it would be too much. I’d grown up in the western desert, so I was used to heat. But I’d never experienced heat accompanied by such humidity. As we moved around the outdoor stage, I could feel the perspiration running down my back, and as the heat increased, my energy lagged. The end seemed way out of sight.

The director called for a break. We all gratefully pulled out our water bottles and sought some shade while he spoke to us. He reminded us that we were midway through, and asked us to look at how much progress we had made. He reminded us of the prior casts that had gone through the same thing we were going through, and how they had succeeded, and he confidently told us he knew we would succeed too.

He gave us a vision of how our show would inspire those who came to see it, and read to us accounts written by people from audiences in the past who thanked the cast, saying how life-changing the performance had been for them.

Lastly, he reminded us to call upon our Maker for the strength and courage to do hard things, and promised His help would carry us through.

Somehow, his words gave me the will to go on, and the belief that I could.

Grief can be exhausting, too. It can seem like there will never be an end to the process, and we can wonder if we can endure it.

May I offer that mid-way through encouragement?

Take a break for a few moments. Get a cool drink of water, and find a quiet place to take a little time to ponder.

Look back, and make note of any progress you’ve made – no matter how small it may seem. Know that others have traveled this same path, and they survived. You will too.

Think of your own vision of what you would like this process to lead to. Know that your own progress may inspire those who come after you.

And call upon your Maker. The strength from that Source is never-ending.

You can do this! And know that there are many others here willing to help you along the way.