Wow. I just watched a video from Elder Holland where he told a story that I so needed to hear. Here's a link to it if you're interested.
His son and he were on a trip and they were turning back home when they came to a fork in the road. Neither of them recognized it, so they prayed about which way to go. They felt like the right road was the correct one to take, so they proceeded to go right and found a dead end. It was clearly the wrong road. They turned around and headed forward on the left side of the fork, which was clearly the right road.
When his son asked him, "Dad, why did we both feel like the right road was the one we were supposed to take, when the left one was correct?", Elder Holland answered by saying, "I think the Lord was trying to reassure us of the right road, and the quickest way to do that was to let us go about 400 yards on the wrong road so we'd be certain that the left road was correct."
This so profoundly touched me because I feel like I've seen this application in mine and Dave's lives multiple times. This is pretty personal, but I hope it's alright that I'm sharing this on here. Dave was engaged to a girl before me for a long time (like a 2 year relationship experience total). Things eventually didn't work out and he ended up having to break off the engagement. Throughout the entire engagement, though, he felt incredibly strongly that he was doing the right thing by sticking with her. It wasn't until the night before he ended the engagement that he felt peace about walking away. I won't go into too much detail, but there were some problems with her family accepting him and some stuff about him being short and having a Psychology degree which wasn't secure enough for her or her family. He was hoping she'd be able to work through the issues and have an open dialogue with her family so she could make her own decision, but she never could, and he didn't feel right waiting any longer after about 2 years.
He didn't meet me until a year or so later and I have been grateful since the day he met me for his experience with this previous engagement. When I first heard about it, we were just friends and I thought, Wow, I could never marry someone knowing they were ready to marry someone else before me... But surprisingly, this hasn't been the case at all. This other girl and I are pretty similar in our interests, major, hobbies, etc, but I handle difficult situations very differently.
Dave wouldn't have appreciated the qualities and abilities I bring to our marriage half as much as he does if he hadn't watched her function so differently with them first. He's always so vocal about how much he values me because he has this whole other life he almost walked into to compare it to. He loves my family so much and is so grateful for their support and love of us because he dealt with an "in-law" situation where they didn't support him or their daughter in anything they tried to do. And most of all, I think Heavenly Father led him down this "wrong road" for so long so that when the "right road" (that's me!) came along, it would hardly take any time at all for Dave to know it. And that's how it happened. Dave knew before I did that he wanted to marry me, and I think it's because he had the certainty that comes with traveling down a wrong road first.
I think for right now, my life is full of wrong roads. (More like a complicated freeway rather than a simple backroad fork.) I'm constantly chasing new ideas about what could be causing my chronic pain. And I'm not just chasing; I'm fully driving down the road all the way to the dead end. I've had surgeries, hormone treatments, physical therapy, and other procedures that have all left me wondering, why did I feel like these were the right things to do at the time, when they were so clearly wrong? We're getting to a point now where there aren't many possible diagnoses left, and I think Elder Holland might be right that Heavenly Father is letting me travel down all these wrong roads right now while we don't have kids, life is pretty low-stress, and we can handle the expenses of everything so that when life gets more complicated, we can feel peace about a diagnosis and treatment for whatever this is.
Maybe this is just naive optimism again, but I'm personally choosing to cling to Elder Holland's possible explanation for this wild goose chase we've been living for the past year or so. It gives me hope, patience, and peace that I'm doing the right things by listening to my intuition and guidance from the Spirit about my health plans--even when they turn out to be wrong.