Somebody Had It Harder

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As a new missionary, things got difficult. When I began to ask “Why me?” the Spirit answered with a message of perspective.

I had been a member of the Church just over one year when I found myself in the Missionary Training Center on my way to the Philippines San Pablo Mission. While in the MTC, I spent many hours sitting in cramped rooms on hard chairs trying to learn Tagalog—a language I had never heard of before receiving my mission call.

Sometimes I struggled to confirm my desire to serve a mission, mainly because my family couldn’t understand why I would give two of the most precious years of my life to a religion I had just become affiliated with. They wondered if it wasn’t too much too fast.

But I knew that the Church was true. I also felt that it would be selfish of me not to share the blessings of the gospel with others, just as my best friend had shared those blessings with me.

Even with my testimony of the gospel, it was still difficult to watch all the missionaries around me receive letters of praise from their families while I didn’t. I even started to ask myself, “Why me? It would be so much easier if my family shared the same beliefs as I did. Why do I have it harder?”

One night, during this difficult time, I woke up suddenly in the middle of the night. While the other elders in my room lay fast asleep, I wondered why my sleep had been interrupted. Before long the answer came as I was prompted to write these words:

When the end of the day is just ahead,
And there’s still not time for you,
Just remember these four words:
Somebody had it harder.
When the night is cold and the air is still,
Your only friend’s the silent moon,
Just repeat: “Be not afraid.”
Somebody had it harder.
When you’ve run away to find yourself,
And all you have to show is a tired body,
Someone ran just as far;
Somebody had it harder.
He bled and sighed as they raised Him high;
For our sins He was a martyr.
No one who has ever lived
Has had it any harder.

My poem has been a blessing to me many times during my trials as a young missionary in a foreign country. I have had my ups and downs and my fair share of hard times. But every night as I kneel beside my bed I thank Heavenly Father for the One who had it much harder than I.

[illustration] Illustrated by Steve Kropp

Frank Preston has completed his mission and is a member of the Centennial Ward, Meridian Idaho North Stake.