“Peace Within,” Liahona, May 2000, 29–30
It was April 1992—summer in the Philippines. Our family was spending a vacation at a beach resort in Bagac, on the Bataan Peninsula. As soon as we arrived, my brothers and sisters ran down to the beach and jumped into the ocean. My parents went to look for a cottage to rent.
Confined to a wheelchair, I waited in the shade of some coconut palms, feeling the cool breeze caress my skin. I inhaled deeply and felt my face break into a grin. I turned my gaze to the seemingly endless sea and watched the sun blazing in the sky, a brilliant ball of fire.
On the beach, people were enjoying the warm sand; their laughter was audible even from a distance. In the water, swimmers were engaged in all kinds of activities. I watched my younger brothers practice their strokes. Elsewhere, some young people were riding jet skis or propelling paddle boats.
I thought, How lucky these people are to have the freedom to fully enjoy the beauties of the earth!
And then a wave of self-pity washed over me. I could not do the same. I will live all my life in a wheelchair. A feeling of gloom settled on me. I felt as though an actual force was trying to destroy my faith in Heavenly Father.
I began to pray. I prayed with all the fervor of my soul for this feeling of depression to leave. Into my mind came words I had read in the Bible. At some happy day in the future, it said, “the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart [deer], and the tongue of the dumb sing” (Isa. 35:5–6). A familiar yearning welled up deep inside me. My fondest desire is to walk, but doing so is beyond my abilities.
I was startled from my thoughts by the laughter of young children. They were filled with the excitement of discovery as they searched the wet sand for seashells. Suddenly my spirits lifted, and peace filled my heart. Someday I would walk. Someday I would even “leap as an hart.” In the meantime, my physical disabilities did not prevent me from feasting my senses on the beauties of the earth, pondering my blessings, and praising the Lord for them. Bowing my head, I uttered a silent prayer of thanks for the privileges I enjoy.