I really, really love this talk by President Uchtdorf. Here’s an excerpt:
Not long ago I was skiing with my 12-year-old grandson. We were enjoying our time together when I hit an icy spot and ended up making a glorious crash landing on a steep slope.
I tried every trick to stand up, but I couldn’t—I had fallen, and I couldn’t get up.
I felt fine physically, but my ego was a bit bruised. So I made sure that my helmet and goggles were in place, since I much preferred that other skiers not recognize me. I could imagine myself sitting there helplessly as they skied by elegantly, shouting a cheery, “Hello, Brother Uchtdorf!”
I began to wonder what it would take to rescue me. That was when my grandson came to my side. I told him what had happened, but he didn’t seem very interested in my explanations of why I couldn’t get up. He looked me in the eyes, reached out, took my hand, and in a firm tone said, “Opa, you can do it now!”
Instantly, I stood.
I am still shaking my head over this. What had seemed impossible only a moment before immediately became a reality because a 12-year-old boy reached out to me and said, “You can do it now!” To me, it was an infusion of confidence, enthusiasm, and strength.
Brethren, there may be times in our lives when rising up and continuing on may seem beyond our own ability. That day on a snow-covered slope, I learned something. Even when we think we cannot rise up, there is still hope. And sometimes we just need someone to look us in the eyes, take our hand, and say, “You can do it now!”
So many words here remind me of myself, my addictions, and my ongoing recovery “I tried every trick to stand up, but I couldn’t—I had fallen, and I couldn’t get up… I began to wonder what it would take to rescue me.”
Oh, how often I’ve wondered what it will take to rescue me! How often I’ve been lost and hopeless. But, as President Uchtdorf teaches, “Even when we think we cannot rise up, there is still hope.”
I feel that President Uchtdorf’s story illustrates the reason I’ve come to love and even look forward to my addiction recovery group meetings. When I’m there, I find hope. I find it in the form of fellow addicts sharing their personal failures and lessons learned from working the steps. I find it when I share my deepest fears and greatest failures, and in response I get nods of understanding and heartfelt encouragement. I find it when a brother approaches me after a meeting to say, “Hey, I’m sorry you’re having such a hard time. I know how it feels. Here’s my phone number. I’m here for you.”
I’ve had two other experiences in my life in which I felt the Holy Spirit and the merciful love of God as I do in those addiction recovery meetings—when I married my wife in the Washington, D.C., temple, and when I was a missionary sitting across from a man who was striving and failing to recover from an addiction to drugs and alcohol.
I still vividly recall his tears of remorse and sincerity, his yearning desire to feel God’s love for him, his desperate cries for peace, healing, and love. Nothing I could say or teach was reaching this man’s broken heart and broken faith. I felt helpless and useless.
In that moment, my missionary companion showed me what needed to be done. In fact, I believe he did exactly what the Savior would’ve done. Without saying a word, he stood up, walked over to where our friend was sitting, sat down next to him on the couch, put his arm around him, and held him. He didn’t say anything for a few minutes; he just held him.
I really don’t remember what was said between that moment and when we left his home. I can only recall the feeling of love that filled that room and filled our hearts, and I remember the blessed expression on that man’s face as his loneliness was beaten away with a hug. Through the simplest gesture of a kind friend, the love of God was invited into our lives in that very moment. He made great progress after that day, and we all became great friends.
I am forever indebted to my Father in Heaven and the people in my life who’ve given me simple gestures of love and support. They’ve given me hope that my life can be better and that—as my wife says—it doesn’t have to be what it’s been, that I don’t have to be who I’ve been. I am amazed and surprised by the strength I receive through the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the simplest gestures of kindness from others. I am indebted and I am grateful.