A few days ago I was driving home from tai chi with a girlfriend who talked about some challenges she is facing. She said apologetically that she did not want to burden me because I had recently “been to Hell and back.” At first I honestly did not know what she was referring to. Then I realized, she was talking about my brain surgery and loss of my husband (in addition to a few other things). Did this really look like I’d been to Hell and back? Honestly, that’s not what it feels like. It’s more like I’ve been to Heaven and back. During these challenges, I was closer to the Spirit, closer to my Heavenly Father, got familiar with my own strengths and weakness, and felt closer to my family than I was before. And now that I’m “back” I feel like I am not as close to the Spirit as I want to be. I am reading a book called The God Seed that is helping me to understand how to live a more spiritually in-tune life. Challenges in life serve a purpose, including helping us to get to know who we really are, and embracing our journey. The interesting part of the conversation with my friend was that I learned that things look different from the outside. Although to her it looked like I have gone to Hell and back, it doesn’t look like that at all to me. So once again, I am learning that my assessment of other people’s experiences is usually not accurate. We all experience stress differently. It may be hard to watch others go through what we think are painful and difficult events, but they may be learning and growing in ways we don’t know about. These challenges are shaping me, urging me to move forward and explore who I am, why I am here, how I can make a difference in this life, and other deep secrets that are brought to light by adversity. I live in gratitude for the challenges I have experienced.