The Wilderness

Mon Feb 21 14:30:53 EST 2022
Episode 82

A bucket list adventure through the Uinta Mountains in Utah turns into a night through a dreaded fire swamp as unexpected challenges plague Heather and her friend; Aliah experiences a dream pregnancy until she is rushed to the hospital and doctors scramble to save her and her baby.


Heather Wilderness TITG.jpeg


Aliah Wilderness TITG.jpg


Katie 0:00

Welcome to This Is the Gospel, an LDS Living podcast where we feature real stories from real people who are practicing and living their faith every day. My name is Katie Lambert, and I'm thrilled to be hosting this episode for a couple of reasons. One is that I actually have my voice back today. So if you listen to the bonus episode where I sounded really crackly and sick, you can now hear my actual voice. I'm also excited because I'm here in the booth with Erika Free, and she's making sure that this sounds good because I'm so nervous.

But if you're a word nerd like me, you have probably never heard this before: arkoudaphobia. And yes, I had to practice saying that a million times. But just so you know, this word means fear of bears. And I had to look up this word because in recent years, it's become very apparent to me and everyone who loves me that I have a severe fear of bears. As an I can't go camping in a forested area without bear proofing everything and everyone I go with. And I know that sounds reasonable, especially if you're going somewhere where there have been a lot of bear sightings before. But when you stay awake all night, worrying that every creak and every wrestle is a 600-pound grizzly bear looking for a little midnight snack in the form of me, in my sleeping bag, as a human burrito, it's not exactly reasonable.

So despite my fear of bears, I actually do enjoy being out in the wilderness. And not just in a trailer or some cushy motorhome but actually sleeping out under the stars. Wondering at the beauty of wild places as I hike past mountain lakes so clear, you can actually see 200 feet down to the bottom, and rivers that just take your breath away with their sheer untamed power. It's hard to describe that feeling of just connection with everything around you when you're in the wilderness. And you can see yourself as being one of God's creations.

But I know that being in the wilderness isn't always comfortable. My brother in law, who worked on a search and rescue team in Idaho, has plenty of examples of just how ferocious and unforgiving the wilderness can be sometimes. And maybe we'll have him on later. He has lots of really good stories, but let's move on. As you can probably guess by now, we're going to share stories about the wilderness today, both stories of physical wilderness and stories of spiritual wilderness. Our first story comes from Heather, who despite her best plans found herself wandering in the wilderness. Here's Heather.

Heather 2:35

There is a trail in the Uinta Mountains in Utah that has been on my bucket list for quite a number of years. I am an ultra-runner, and an ultra-marathon is considered any distance over traditional marathon distance at 26.2 miles. I had estimated the mileage on this route to be about 55 miles. And on August 28 of 2021, I had the chance to go dream chasing in the wilderness.

My friend Marie and I, and our two supportive husbands, drove up to China Meadows Trailhead on the north slope of the Uinta Mountains. Marie and I set out at about 2:45 a.m. And our husbands then woke up the next morning at some point and drove around to the end trailhead to wait for us. The stars were fantastic. You can actually see, with the light of our headlamps, a little bit of frost on the grasses of the meadows and the trees and it was pretty magical.

As we made our way over the next couple passes, we reached about the 29, 30-mile-mark just over mid-day. And I was starting to struggle. I was feeling very fatigued, which I just thought was altitude fatigue and a little bit of calorie deficit. We still had three mountain passes to go up and over and about 27 miles. In the Uinta wilderness, there is no cell reception. And there's no option for us to reach out and summon any help. The only option that we had was to keep moving forward.

Needless to say, at this point, Marie watched me crumble. The tears fell, and she quickly wrapped her arms around me and said, "Let's say a prayer." She poured out our concerns to Heavenly Father and asked for blessings of mercy and strength and comfort and safety. Then we slowly made our way up the next valley and over the next mountain pass, which was Red Knob Pass.

As we came down from Red Knob Pass to Dead Horse Lake, I was still not feeling very good and our pace had slowed considerably. Marie and I discussed it and felt she had a strong impression that I should quit using iodine to purify my water. Later realizing that the thyroid condition I have might have played a part in that, and she offered to take the time to filter water for both of us. And at the next stream crossing that's what we did.

As we made our way to Deadhorse Lake, I actually started to feel a little bit better. Marie saw some backpackers camped out at the lake so she approached the backpackers and asked for any extra calories that they may have while I started to make my way up Dead Horse Pass. I knew I would be slower. And I knew Murray would catch me and actually started feeling pretty good. And I counted that as an answered prayer. So halfway up, Marie caught me. And sure enough, the backpackers had given some of their precious calories, some protein bars. As we approach the top of the pass, the sun was setting. It was so beautiful. It's one of the most beautiful mountain passes that I've ever been on.

Previously, on a backpacking trip with my husband, we had taken a side trail at this point that navigated around kind of a steep ravine on the Highline Trail. This ravine dropped down in elevation and required to climb back up in elevation whereas this side trail kind of went around this ravine. And as we got to this point, and made the decision to take the side trail, it was dark. And I was fairly confident that the go around trail was the best option. Apparently, a windstorm and a forest fire went through there and caused a lot of trees to come down along the trail. And because this wasn't the main trail, the trees were still there. The trees and deadfall and fire that had gone through there had created just literally the dreaded fire swamp situation and it was really a challenge to navigate. We probably called on all the resources and experience that we've had up to that point to keep moving forward and to trust each other. We had our headlamps. And we got out our phones that we used because both of us had the trail app on it that when we open up the app, it showed each of us as a little blue dots on the map, and we could see the trail and we could see us as the little blue dots. And as long as we matched them up, we were able to find the trail okay.

Is it scary out there in the dark? Sure. Do you hear any noises? Yeah, you do. At one point, Marie turned on the music on her phone and we jammed out with the music blasting in the middle of the night.

This three-mile section of trail actually took us about probably over four hours to navigate. Once back on the main trail, we both sight a huge sigh of relief. Marie cheered or cried or made some kind of noise, I don't know, but as we came down the other side of that pass down into the forest, we heard a voice calling out, "Marie! Heather!" It was Marie's husband, Paul, who had come to meet up with us.

It was probably just before 5 a.m. when we I met up with Paul. He had brought extra food and water and headlamps and puffy jackets. We then hiked the remaining seven miles together, and we got to Hayden Pass Trailhead at 8 a.m., where my husband, Rob, had hot food ready for us.

What I thought would take us about 20 hours actually took us 29 hours. And we covered 57 miles. I was sure proud of Marie, and sure grateful for her. She got my sorry carcass out of that mess that I got myself in. And I think we all can be grateful for friends like that.

This experience is an obvious example of a physical wilderness. The past two years, I've also been navigating a different kind of wilderness, an emotional wilderness of having my lovely youngest daughter leave the fold of the Church. The pain that this has caused has surprised me. Sometimes, the crying out for comfort to Heavenly Father is very constant. And in response, I feel that the Lord has blessed me with an increased love for her in so many ways. Our relationship is deeper and stronger than I feel that it has ever been. And I count that as a blessing from Heavenly Father. His ways are not our ways. And I may lack a lot of understanding about this situation. But He doesn't. He knows. He knows her and He knows me.

All of us, I believe, will experience some kind of spiritual wilderness in our mortal journeys here on the earth. And there are parts of it that will be beautiful. There are parts that will be scary. There are parts that will be really hard. But when this happens, I know I personally can turn to my Heavenly Father and turn to my Savior, and know that the powers of heaven are on my side and He is mighty to save.

Katie 12:44

That was Heather.

And I have to tell you, I first heard Heather's story in a sacrament meeting when she was giving a talk about it. And besides being blown away that she would hike 56 miles in basically a day as part of her bucket list, I was also drawn to the parallels between her physical wilderness and her spiritual wilderness.

So often we can't see when someone is experiencing a long night in their own fire swamp, as Heather put it, running low on food and water and having no idea at times where the trail is. But that's also what I loved about Heather's story is that there are people who helped. There were kind hikers on their own journey who gave much needed food to Heather and her friend before they began the most challenging part of their wilderness. And right now, Heather is going through her own spiritual wilderness with her daughter. And while they may not need Clif Bars to see them through, they can still receive strength and light from others.

Our next story is from Aliah, who perfectly illustrates a fire swamp of spiritual wilderness. Here's Aliah.

Aliah 13:48

I was pregnant with my son, Atticus, and it was like a dream pregnancy. I didn't have any morning sickness. I felt really good. Everything was fine—until it wasn't.

I knew I wasn't going to be able to fly for very long so I flew home to California to visit my mom. I got back and went to get my 24-week checkup. But I think it was like my 23rd week of pregnancy when they said that my blood pressure was a little bit high, or that a lot a bit high, and they wanted me to see a specialist. This was like on a Friday and they said they wanted me to see a specialist on Monday but to be on bed rest over the weekend. Which totally freaked me out because I'm like a doer and I was like, "Oh my gosh, what am I gonna do on bed rest?"

I was already kind of like freaking out about being on bed rest and then I went to see the specialist on Monday. They told me that I had early onset preeclampsia, which is really high blood pressure in pregnancy. You hear in like your genealogy or in your family that a woman died in childbirth, it was probably because of preeclampsia. So they told me that that's what I had, and that I had three hours to go home and pack a bag. And then they were going to admit me into the hospital with the possibility of trying to deliver my son at 23 weeks, which was terrifying, because that small in that age, gestational age, it's very unlikely that they would survive. And so they were trying to find just the right window, where they could possibly save us both. They would be checking every 48 hours to see how my blood pressure was and how I was doing and checking how he was doing to see if we could find a window where we might both survive, but that it wasn't very likely.

When they told me that, I think I was still kind of in disbelief because four days ago, everything was fine. And at that point, I didn't feel sick. Like they said that I should have felt sick because my blood pressure was really high. But I didn't. It's not that I didn't believe them. But I was just like, "Oh, I feel okay." And so I was just really kind of thinking about like, what would it be like to spend the next three months in the hospital.

And I was in the hospital just a couple of days before they asked if they had an experimental drug that they could put me on that would possibly keep me pregnant for longer. And it was experimental, so they didn't know if I would get the placebo or the actual drug. But I feel like I'm pretty sure I was on the medication because had it been saline, I think it wouldn't have jammed up the machine all the like, every 20 minutes. And start like the all the bells and whistles, which was like, kept me up all night long. And so that was overwhelming.

But as the days went by, I got sicker and sicker, my blood pressure kept going up. It was hard to think and people would come to visit and I couldn't pay attention to the conversation because I was just in a lot of pain. My husband and family were really worried and really concerned probably more worried and concerned than I was just because I think I was still in a state of disbelief. An illustration of like how stubborn and obstinate that I couldn't be the doctor came in and said that I was dying. And I told him that, "I think I would know if I was dying. I think I would know if I was dying." And he was like, "Well, you are so we're gonna have to deliver the baby."

But I was so scared because he was still so small. And I knew in that moment that if it was between him and I that I like I wanted them to save him. If they could like, if they could keep me pregnant for a little while longer, and it would give him a better chance of living, that I was okay with it. To give him a better chance. But the doctor said that that was not an option, that they were going to deliver and see if they could save us. And so on Valentine's Day, 2016, they wheeled me in do an emergency C-section and deliver a baby that they weren't sure was even a pound.

I remember some things about the delivery. They were doing an emergency C-section and they gave me whatever medication that they give you so that you can stay awake while they do the C-section because that's the safest way to do it. But while they were cutting me open, I could feel it. My husband said that I started to talk and I was telling them that they were hurting me and that I could feel that. At one point, like I reached up and like grabbed the doctor by his collar and I was like, "You're hurting me!" And they're like, "Oh, we're gonna have to put this one out." And so they put me under to finish the delivery. And I shouldn't be laughing because it's not funny, but it's so me to like, first be like, "I'm not dying." And then like, grab the doctor and be like, "You're hurting me!" They're like, "This lady is difficult at best." So I don't remember much about the delivery after that. I just remember waking up several hours later and him saying that he was in the ICU of the NICU, so he was in the NICU of the NICU.

I think there was some grief there that that I've missed his birth, like I've missed that part. And I had had this idea in my head of like this whole birthing plan, like I wasn't far enough along when things went south to even have a birthing plan, but I had already thought of what I wanted my birthing plan to be. And I was like, "Oh, I'm gonna do it natural, and it's gonna be like this. We're gonna have a doula." And I had all these ideas about what it was going to be like. Once I went into the hospital, like I realized that there was no chance of any of those things happening. And so I just really had to come to terms that like, if he survived that that was going to be enough.

When I woke up, they wheeled me into the NICU. And they said that he weighed a little bit more than they thought he did. So that was good. He weighed one pound, six ounces. We couldn't like touch him or anything like that because he was so fragile. We could stick our hand like through this little window, but we couldn't like pick him up or anything.

And I just remember the first time like, reaching through to touch him and being so terrified, that like, I would break him or hurt him. But I also remember thinking that I was afraid that he would be afraid. And so I had to kind of gird up my loins sort of, like I was like, "I've got to be strong for him because if I'm scared and anxious, that's going to make him scared and anxious." And I think in that moment, I felt this support or a strength that was outside of myself, that was beyond myself, to be able to support him.

I remember going home from the hospital without him. I never imagined that I would go home without my baby. I think it was the hardest thing I ever had to do. No mother ever imagines that. To like, have a baby and then to be like, "You can go home now. But your child has to stay here and somebody else is going to take care of them while you're gone." And so I just really solidified in my mind that I would be at the hospital as much as I possibly could. And that really required the first couple of weeks to a month, I was still really sick. So I couldn't drive. So neighbors and friends and family would come in the morning and drive me up to the hospital, drive me home, and really take care of that part of it for me because I couldn't do that. But I just knew it was really important for me to be there with him. And so that began, what ended up being a 10-and-a-half-months stay at the hospital.

And because Atty, fairly early on, had some infections and medical issues, we were in isolation, which was he had his own room because he couldn't be with some of the other babies. But that room didn't have any windows. And so for 10 months, I was in a room by myself with no windows with my son. Even though I felt supported and loved and cared for, it was incredibly lonely. It felt like what you read in the scriptures as a wilderness, a dark and lonely place with not a lot of guidance of what to do, or what would come of it, or how you would get out of it.

During those months that we were in the hospital, Atty and I were in the hospital, I didn't really attend church. I wasn't really reading my scriptures. I don't remember making formal prayers, although I think I was always praying in some capacity, but I wasn't really doing any of the things that you're supposed to do. And yet I felt probably more supported by my Heavenly Father and by my Savior and the Holy Spirit than I ever felt in my entire life. I always thought like, "Okay, if hard things happen, that's when you kind of double down, you know, on your faithfulness. That's when you kind of double down on your obedience." You know, I served a mission, and so like our mission was all about obedience and like, doing the little things. And so I think in my head, I always had this idea that when the hard thing happened, that like I would just be this person who like, "And then I read my scriptures every day and I prayed all the time and and that's how I got through it." But it wasn't through my effort. It was truly and completely the mercy of God. Because I don't really know how I did, like I look back on those months and I like, I don't know how I did that. I don't know how I got up every day and went up there and sat alone and worried and stressed and cared for this little human. Like, I don't think you could talk me into doing it again. I don't think I could have ever have done it without the support of my Savior, of my heavenly parents.

Part of the reason why he spent such a long time in the NICU and in the hospital was because he had a heart defect. And so at four months old, they did open heart surgery to correct one of the veins that go from his heart to his lungs, which was causing his lungs to not develop correctly. When he got out of that surgery, he had previously been able to breathe on his own. But when he got out of that surgery, he couldn't. And so they had him on oxygen for a month or so before they just said that it was no longer sustainable to have him on oxygen the way he was. And they needed to do what they call a tracheostomy, which was to put a hole in his throat to put a breathing tube in his throat, in his trachea.

And at the same time, because he hadn't been feeding and he wasn't taking food by mouth, to give him a G-tube as well, which was a tube to go directly into his stomach to feed him. So he had open heart surgery at four months old, and then had his tracheostomy and G-tube put iin place at seven months old. They said that once he has a trach that young, that we would not hear his voice. He would not cry. He would not talk. The only way that we would know that he was upset is that his machines would start to beep. And I was just terrified of not being able to communicate him or have him communicate with me. So I was really hesitant about having him get a trach. But it came to the point where it wasn't really an option anymore because it was hurting his development. So it became necessary for him to get a trach. And several nurses and doctors came to talk to me about it, to just prepare me to not be able to hear his voice. He was giggling at that point, and that would end.

So he got his trach and his G-tube at the same time. And it was probably about two weeks later that he just started to kind of babble. Like he was making kind of noises. And I was like, "Oh, I think he's trying to talk over his trach." And the nurses were like, "That doesn't happen." And they just kind of dismiss it. And I'm like, "But I think he really is like trying to talk over his trach. Like he's making noises." She's like, "Oh, it's probably just a leak in the tubing. It's like gurgling or something." And then he started to be like, "Blah, blah, blah, blah." Like just kind of making all of these noises. And she was like, "Oh, I think he is talking over his trach." I was like, "I know, I told you. He just does what he wants to." Like, whatever you tell him he can't do, he's just gonna do it anyways.

And so he just started babbling and you can hear him giggle and you can hear him cry. And that was such a blessing. Because that was a big worry of mine, that I wouldn't be able to like, I wouldn't know how to take care of him because he wouldn't be able to communicate with me when he was hurting. And that was really terrifying.

During that time, we watched like baby after baby go home. Babies that were smaller, babies that were sicker. Everybody seemed to be going home but us. At one point we were the oldest child in the NICU. I don't remember ever feeling hopeless, but I remember feeling like, "I can't see the end of this tunnel. Like I can't see how this ends." I wouldn't let my mind go to the place where he passed away. But I also couldn't see what this looked like. What kind of childhood he would have, like how we would be able to support him at home and do all those things.

I went into the hospital on January 16, 2016. And we were hoping to get out of the hospital before Christmas. But we didn't. But on December 28, it was finally our day had come and we were like, "Okay, we're going home." And we had a breathing machine and oxygen tanks and an oxygen machine. I really tried to like set up his nursery so that it didn't look like a hospital, even though it had all of that hospital equipment, because I just wanted him to have as much normality as he could. But all of his equipment and supplies filled our tiny home to the brim.

And I remember, I think the most shocking thing that they told us when we got home because we asked, we said, "You know, how do we know?" Because oftentimes he would what they call a crash, so he would stop breathing. And so they would have to, like, increase his oxygen or, or his ventilator settings and different things like that. And so I remember before leaving asking like, "How do we know when to call 911? At what point is it time to call 911 when we're home?" And the nurse educator said, "There's no point in calling 911. They won't know what to do. EMTs only know how to work with normal airways that if they showed up and he has a trach that they wouldn't know what to do with a trach." And so our best bet was to get in the car as fast as we could and try back to the hospital. And that was terrifying to think that they're sending us home with this baby, this little human, and that we were his only, we were his only shot.

I just remember the first couple of weeks that he was home, I just couldn't stop looking at him. Like even though I was terrified that he'd stop breathing so I was like, just watching his every breath, but also completely enamored with this, like little boy, who was like the love of my whole life. And so my husband kept, he's like, "Eventually, you're gonna get tired of looking at him." But I never do. I never get tired of just watching, like, blink his eyes or smile or move his hands. And you know, so there was like times that were terrifying and he would stop breathing. And to hold your child as, as they are struggling to breathe and potentially dying is a terrible feeling. But to watch him as well as he, almost a year old, like noticed his feet and noticed his hands and like, started to lift his head. It was a worry and a wonder, all at once, all the time. Always worried about that next step and always a wonder when he just blew past it.

Whenever we would leave the house, we'd have to take every tank. We had six full, giant tanks of oxygen that we'd have to take with us just to be out of the house for about an hour to go to doctor's appointments and things. Little by little, we'd have to take only five tanks, and then four tanks, and then three tanks, and two tanks. And then, one day, he didn't need to be on oxygen during the day anymore.

The prognosis they gave us in the hospital was so gloom, and doom because of my faith in the Lord and because of the support and the love that I felt, I couldn't bring myself to believe the prognosis that they had for him. I didn't know what it looked like and I didn't know how it happened and there were days where I was sure that it wouldn't and I was terrified. But I could never bring myself to believe that he wouldn't just continue to grow and get stronger and smarter and do all of the things. I think I just had a lot of hope. Somewhat misplaced hope sometimes, it felt like, but I just had a lot of hope. I think that that changed everything. It gave me space to let him try. Whenever he would show some interest or some capacity, I would just be like, "Okay, we can do this."

But I think the craziest part was when he was 2 years old and he had this little piano that one of his nurses in the NICU had given him. He was maybe like 2, 2 and a half years old. He was playing on the floor with it. And I just was listening to him and I was like, "I think he's trying to play 'London Bridges.'" And my husband is like, "Nah." And I was like, "Okay, whatever. I think he is." And then like a couple days later, he plays "London Bridges" on this little four-key piano. And I was like, "He played 'London Bridges' on this piano!" And so I took out my phone and I videoed it because I knew my husband wouldn't believe me that he plays "London Bridges" on the piano. So I took a video of it and I showed it to my husband. And he was like, "Wow, that's so cool. Like, we should get him like a bigger piano." So we got him this piano that had five keys on it. Because that was, you know, advancing. And so then he was playing like "Mary Had a Little Lamb" and some other little nursery rhyme songs on his five-key piano. And then one day my husband came home with like a little Minions keyboard. I think Atty was almost three at this point, probably a couple months shy of three, and he was just playing all of these little nursery rhymes songs on this piano. And we were just awestruck, blown away by this little boy that we were like, "How is he going to like live in the world and communicate with people and like, have joy and fulfillment?" And he just started playing the piano so young.

And I was telling a good friend of mine, actually KaRyn, I was telling her about this. And she was like, "You should get him piano lessons." I was like, "He can't even like read or talk. How am I going to get him piano lessons?"

She was like, "There's this type of piano lessons called Suzuki that it's just like playing by ear. And there's like, teachers who just teach kids by ear." And I was like, "Oh, okay." So I looked it up. And I found a teacher. And I asked her and she was like, "Well, how old is he?" And I was like, "Oh, he's three." And she said, "We don't usually work with kids that young." And I was like, "Yeah, but he already knows how to play all these songs that he just taught himself." And so she was like, "Well, bring them over and we'll, you know, look at it. "And so I took him to his teachers house the first time to play the piano. And he crawled right up on the piano bench because he was so excited to see like a full piano. And she started doing a piano lesson with him. And when we were done, she was like, "That was six months of lessons in 20 minutes." She was like, "This is what my seven and eight year olds are playing." And he was three. And it has just like blossomed from there. He loves to play the piano. And he probably plays it 2, 3, 4 hours a day. Anything he hears on the radio, or on his little cartoon shows that he likes to watch, he just loves to run to the piano and see if he can like pick out the tune and play it.

Aliah Hall 37:51

You never know what the Lord has in store, you know. Like when you're going through that wilderness. When you're in that dark place and you can't see the light. You don't know how you're going to get out of it. Like you just don't know what the Lord has for you on the other side. Not that we're on the other side, but we have some light.

Katie 38:15

That was Aliah

And if you thought her voice sounded familiar, you are totally right because she is also a guest on Sunday on Monday, another one of our podcasts. And I just have to say I adore Aliah because what struck me most about Aliah's story was even though her wilderness has lasted years and years and continues to provide hardships for her, she felt supported by her heavenly parents and her Savior. And that spiritual support is what got her through the hours spent in a windowless room in a hospital, holding her baby, hoping and praying that things would get better.

Whether physical or spiritual, I think we can all agree that the wilderness is not always a safe place. It's dangerous and unpredictable. Bears are not the only thing to be afraid of in the wilderness. There are unexpected snowstorms running out of food or water, heat, bugs, injuries, getting lost, plenty of things that can turn a pleasant experience into a nightmare. But if I'm being honest, that's the part of the wilderness that makes it all the more beautiful.

As much as I love being in physical wildernesses, I can't say I enjoy spiritual wildernesses while I'm in them. Often, it's only afterwards that I can see the beauty in those really, really hard moments. Like the time right after I gave birth to my sweet baby girl, and I couldn't feel the spirit for three months. I navigated a very deep, dark postpartum depression that felt like a long long night in the fire swamp. I wanted to feel the joy of being a new mom, but I could only feel a stretching darkness. I wanted to feel the loving guidance of my heavenly parents, but I couldn't feel anything. And that was really hard for me.

And I look back and see how God had placed people in that moment to help me through it. Whether it was unexpected texts, gifts, meals, sometimes people would just sit with me in my wilderness and let me know that I wasn't alone. I think that's what I appreciate the most, is the people who are willing to sit with me in my pain. And even though it was uncomfortable for them, I'm sure, they did it anyway. And I will forever be grateful to those people who did that for me.

And in the grander view, I know a lot of people are going through their own wildernesses right now. But I love what Aliah said about reaching out to those around us and asking, "What do you need? What do you need, as you face challenges you've never seen before? Trails you've never walked on before?" And I love how we can be that person who gives nourishment to someone who is about to head into their longest, darkest wilderness. Because that's what being a part of this gospel is all about. Being a reflection of the Savior's light for those who are in the wilderness, and in return, receiving that light from others when we need it the most. That's what this gospel looks like. A never ending trade of light as we help each other finally reached the end of our long nights in the wilderness and summit that last passed or heavenly home. At least that's what the gospel is to me.

That's it for this episode of This Is the Gospel. Thank you to our storytellers, Heather and Aliah, for sharing their experiences in the wilderness with us. You can learn more about our storytellers in our show notes at ldsliving.com/thisisthegospel.

All of the stories in this episode are true and accurate as affirmed by our storytellers. If you have a true story to tell, we want to hear it. You can call and pitch your story on our pitch line at 515-519-6179. We meet so many of our storytellers this way, so be sure to use your three minutes wisely to help us get a clearer sense of the beginning, middle and end of your story. You can find more tips on how to pitch a great story by following us on Facebook or Instagram @thisisthegospel_podcast. And while you're here listening to the end of this episode, you can leave us a review on whatever you're listening to us with whether that's Apple or Stitcher. Those reviews really help the podcast to show up more and recommendations for new people to find us.

This episode was produced and edited by me, Katie Lambert. It was scored, mixed and mastered by Mix at 6 Studios. Our executive producer is Erin Hallstrom. You can find past episodes of this podcast and other LDS Living podcast at ldsliving.com/podcasts We'll see you soon.

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