You would think after living in the same house all my life I’d be aware of any and all rooms it contained…. Wouldn’t you? How does one walk the halls of their own home and be completely oblivious to a door leading to a room chock full of “stuff” I didn’t know existed?

Upon examination I realize I’ve seen this “stuff” before but I had no idea I had kept it. Apparently I’ve been accumulating “stuff” in this room I didn’t know about for a very long time.

I don’t know if it’s a good thing or a bad thing but the room is full… like not just full, but busting at the seams full…..not one more thing will fit in that room. In fact, the contents have been spilling out into the hallways of my home and because I couldn’t see the “stuff”, I was tripping and falling and didn’t know why.

In recent years I’ve been accumulating really large items, far too big to carry or deal with. What better place to put them than in a room completely hidden from not only the world, but from myself?

Here’s the first problem, I’m all out of space, which is forcing me to look at and figure out what to do with “stuff” I’m currently accumulating.

I thought, “I’ll just hold onto all of this that doesn’t fit. I’ll carry it around with me, that way I won’t necessarily have to look at it or decide where to put it. I’ll just go about life carrying this elephant sized load.”

The second problem is I keep tripping and falling over “stuff” I can’t see, and don’t know where it’s coming from, all while carrying a load way to heavy to be carried in the first place.

After numerous falls and nearly reaching the point of not being able to get back up, I discovered this door. It was disguised and difficult to locate but going to the place in the hall where I kept tripping and falling was helpful. I noticed a word at the top of the door and dusted it off. DENIAL

Denial? What the heck is denial? I’m not in denial. I’m fine! I’m strong. Everyone constantly tells me how strong I am. I walked through the threshold of this room and it WREEKED! A wave of nausea swept over me. I wanted to turn and run but instead I froze. I couldn’t move or breathe. There were heaps of garbage in there, “stuff” I figured I had thrown out years ago. Why would I have hung onto all of this?

I leaned against the wall and tried to find my strength and ability to compile this “stuff” into a smaller space so I could just fit what was in the hall and run. I couldn’t move. I started looking at the items I’d kept and evaluating why they were in there.

Had I not recently learned to FEEL emotion, I may have gotten away unscathed. Too late, my eyes had seen what could no longer be hidden….my past, over forty years of experiences I had never wanted to feel.

I spent several weeks in this room. One thing I’ve grown to understand since learning to be honest with myself is that I HATE TO FEEL. I can handle anything…. if I don’t have to feel it. I’ve always considered myself REAL and without filters, but the truth is, I am a master at stuffing my feelings, so much so that I didn’t even know they existed.

Eventually I gave up the fight to compile, hide and stuff the contents of this room and began to sort through it. It HURT. I’m certain I’ve been dehydrated for several weeks due to the pain, sadness, regret and fear seeping out of my body through tears. I tried several times to escape, slamming the door behind me, never to return…. But I couldn’t.

As I looked at and endured feeling each item, I started to notice more space in the room. Slowly, the “stuff” began to disappear. I was appalled and embarrassed at the things I had kept. There was moss, mildew and very stinky mold. At times it was difficult to distinguish where one item ended and another began. Portions of the room were enormous piles of the most disgusting and useless garbage I’ve ever seen. To feel all of that and carry it to the trash was more than I thought I could endure.

I was making progress, I can’ t deny that, but I was spent. I was exhausted. I began to realize the amount of energy I had expended all these years to continually shove things into this room and keep it hidden from myself.

I’ve studied the atonement many times and thought I understood what it meant. On this particular morning, covered in filth and too tired to continue alone I pulled out a book given to me by a dear friend, about the Saviors Atonement, and started to read. It stated, “The Hebrew word now used for atonement is kippur, derived from kaphar, a verb that means to cover or to forgive. Closely related is the Arabic word kafat, meaning A CLOSE EMBRACE. To be atoned is to be received in the close embrace of our Redeemer. “

Upon finishing my reading I knelt on the floor in my office and talked to God. I explained to Him that I couldn’t make sense of the Saviors Atonement and I could not for the life of me figure out how it worked. How do I gather up all of this “stuff” and just hand it over to the Savior? And if I do, how will that take my hurt away? I asked Father in Heaven to please help me understand and comprehend the Saviors Atonement, and ultimately to feel this embrace spoken of.

I put my running shoes on and hit the road. It was at about mile 2, while feeling physically ill from pushing my out of shape body toward home that I started to feel the very thing I had prayed for. All of a sudden I began to feel lighter. The realization that I cannot control the outcome of most things I was worried about became more obvious than it ever had. The fact that we had all been sent to earth to gain a body and learn through our experiences showed up like a neon sign. I have my own trials and so do each of my children. I sensed and realized God is in charge, He loves my children even more than I do. I remembered “the plan”, the bigger picture, the one that includes eternal life, families sealed in the temple and forever friends. The problems didn’t go away, but for the first time in over four years I didn’t feel as though I was carrying an elephant.

Sure, I don’t fully comprehend exactly how the Savior had taken my burdens, and if asked, I could not scientifically explain it, but I can tell you, my mood completely changed. Within a matter of minutes and continually throughout the day, I felt hope. I felt light. Life felt do-able. I didn’t feel alone. I wasn’t scared out of my mind. My heart no longer felt like it was in a vice. I cannot fully describe this change, but it was the most freeing feeling I’ve ever felt.

I have experienced the Saviors Atonement and it can only be described as a miracle.

Upon arriving at home and repeatedly throughout the day, I walked to where that horrible new-found room was to see what remained. It was empty, completely empty. Spotless. Clean. Free of hurt, regret, pain and fear. The Savior had done as promised, He had taken my burdens and freed my soul from the torment it had been wracked with. I knew He could take my sin, but I had no idea how this grace thing worked, or if it worked. It does. It works. He lives.