A perfect brightness of hope

August 28, 2018, was arguably the most difficult day of my life.

Around 3 am, I was awakened by my husband. I could tell there was something very wrong with him, although he didn’t realize it. I wasn’t sure what to do so I said a quick prayer.

Concerned about his well-being, I did not go back to sleep. And as the day progressed, it was evident his brain was not working like it should and his reality was not my reality.

My husband was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder about 15 years ago and has been treating it with medication and therapy since that time. But this altered state was new. He wasn’t acting dangerously. Quite the opposite, actually. But I didn’t know how to help him. I didn’t know where to go. And I didn’t know who to turn to.  So I prayed again.

Around lunchtime, I made the difficult decision to take him to the hospital. Not the one in the town where we live, but one 30 miles away where a good friend works as chief nursing officer. I didn’t know if she would be there, and if she was, I knew she was would be busy. But I felt impressed it was where we needed to go and she was the one we needed to turn to.

She was there, and she took time to listen to Larry, and ultimately, helped me convince him he needed to go to the emergency department to get evaluated.

Hours passed. They ran tests, he spoke with a psychiatrist, meds were administered … but things seemed to be getting worse. Ultimately, we made the extremely difficult decision for him to be admitted to a mental health unit about an hour and a half away. Seeing him climb into the back of an ambulance to be transported there was one of the most painful things I’ve ever witnessed.

I walked out of the hospital as storm clouds began rolling in. Rain started falling and then a magnificent lightning show lit up the sky. As soon as I sat down in the car, I began to sob.

I was exhausted – mentally, emotionally, physically. But also strengthened. I’d known what to do and what to say to get him the help he needed.

As I pulled out of the hospital parking lot and began driving toward home, I looked to the east and saw a beautiful, full rainbow.

A Perfect Brightness of Hope. Mental Illness. Help. Hope. Faith.
Kris Dutson photography

It was brilliant … the brightest and most vivid rainbow I have ever seen.

And my tears began flowing again.

Hope.

A perfect brightness of hope.

I felt as if Heavenly Father was reassuring me … we would get through this … and encouraging me to remain faithful.

It began raining again, pouring down hard.

I turned on my windshield wipers. After just a few times back and forth, the left one broke off and went flying across the highway behind me.

I’m sure you can imagine the thoughts that entered my mind, especially after the day I’d had. But moments later, the rain stopped.

I drove on for several miles and then it started raining again. It stopped and started again two more times before I got home.

“Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.” (2 Nephi 31:20)

The rainbow was my hope. And the windshield wiper was my reminder that the journey would still be difficult.

Neal A. Maxwell said: “While weak hope leaves us at the mercy of our moods and events, ‘brightness of hope’ produces illuminated individuals. Their luminosity is seen, and things are also seen by it! Such hope permits us to ‘press forward’ even when dark clouds oppress. Sometimes in the deepest darkness there is no external light—only an inner light to guide and to reassure.”

A Perfect Brightness of Hope. Mental Illness. Help. Hope. Faith.

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