Doing the Linger
By Sister Natalie Pezzenti
I’ve always been a lover of words. Big words and small words alike, I’ll take them all. Put those words together into a meaningful statement and you can bet I’ll remember it when I need it the most. Take one of my favorite quotes, for instance:
“Linger too long in the stench of your hurt and you’ll smell like the toxins you despise.”
I read this quote when I was going through a rough patch in my early 20s. I didn’t feel like myself and I began to wonder why. I wasn’t doing anything different than before, and I didn’t feel as though I had changed in some significant way. But, for whatever reason, things felt a little left of center.
I realized I was doing “the linger” and little by little, I was developing quite a stench (figuratively speaking, of course). I was so focused on understanding why I was where I was that I was missing out on the joy right before my eyes.
- The joy of being home from college and being able to attend my branch each Sunday.
- The joy of sleeping in my own bed.
- The joy of spending time with my family and friends.
- The joy of this, the joy of that.
God is very clear about this sentiment in His word. In fact, He created men (and women) that they would have exactly that—joy (2 Nephi 2:25). He recognized that there would be different seasons of our lives, times when we’re overflowing with it, and times when we have to look extra hard (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8). But, it was never His intent that we would linger in the gloom.
“A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken” (Proverbs 15:13).
It took me some time to learn the lesson: staying stuck in that glum state was doing much more harm than good. Not only was it casting a dark shadow on my attitude, but it was hurting my spirit even more.
They say that people are drawn to other people by the countenance they carry; by their disposition; by their smile; by their joy. I had to take it upon myself to dig out of the deep dreary well and rest high on the mountaintop, yet again. I made my wishes known each night before bed, praying that the dark cloud would be lifted and I’d return to my joy-seeking self. And, sure enough, He came through, like He always does.
Soon the smell was replaced with the crisp autumn air and pumpkin pie baking, then fresh flowers and mom’s pasta sauce. Out with the toxins and in with the blessings. Instead of lingering in my hurt, I was lingering in my joy.