I’m kind of obsessed with color so this last Christmas I challenged myself to decorate with only white, silver and gold just to prove a point. See!? I did it! I can make neutrals look pretty! And it felt surprisingly good, especially considering I usually have all kind of wacky colors going on at Christmastime: I usually switch between hot pink/green and bold blue/purple color schemes :).
I was just looking at the quote in this frame (from the LDS general conference in October of last year) the other day and felt it resonate with me once again:
“Doubt your doubts, before you doubt your faith”
-Dieter F. Uchtdorf
In the last few weeks, so much sad, sad news has reached my ears: a local family lost a special needs child when he escaped from their yard and drowned in a nearby canal, my friend discovered serious abuse happening to her children right in her own home, and I learned of several other traumatizing stories that happened to parents and children of families I admire or follow online.
I bring this up because as a mom of little children I occasionally find myself contemplating the dangers and accidents and evils that could befall my family and honestly, the thoughts are paralyzing. I almost can’t breathe when I think about all the things that could bring calamity to my sweet little innocent children. I’m not a naturally anxious person at all, but I find myself having mini-panic attacks at the possibilities! Is it even right to bring children into a world so full of hatred, prejudice, violence, accidents and danger??
I contest that YES. Of course it’s right…and good and necessary and worth it all and here’s why…
Once or twice, after feeling these crippling bouts of fear for what the future holds for my kids (or me…the thought of losing my husband is equally unnerving!), I’ve felt a supernatural sense of calm. I know it was God speaking right to my soul and saying that yes…bad crap happens (um, but not in so many words….I mean, I’m sure God would never use the word “crap”…this is just me paraphrasing). Life is full of danger and sin and accidents and really, really awful stuff that even the best people in the world can’t avoid. But you know, the bad stuff in life does not have to define you.
I usually avoid even thinking about the awful possibilities out there, but in these spiritual moments, I’m able to imagine them, in all their seriousness and possibilities, with very little fear. YES, one of my children could fall seriously ill, one could die. I could get cancer; Luke’s plane could crash. Any one of us could suffer abuse or be abducted. A child could drown. A child could choke, I could have a severely handicapped baby that would never talk or walk or speak. But once those thoughts passed through my head, it was made clear to me that I would move through. Tragedy doesn’t have to be a brick wall which halts our progress forever. It can sure feel like a brick wall; we can slam into it and get bruised and battered but if we look closely enough, that wall will have chinks in it. Little holes and pieces of masonry sticking out just big enough for us to grab hold of, and, eventually, we can scale that big old scary wall of tragedy and come out on the next floor up!
During an amazing discussion about this recently, a friend described a family she knew who endured an unthinkable accident that left their son paralyzed and severely handicapped. The mother of the family had (something like) this to say about it all, years later:
Not only CAN good come from bad, but it MUST. That is part of the plan of Jesus Christ. Sometimes the greater bad that occurs, the greater the good that will result from it. Even when the bad things are your fault, there is always a way for good to triumph.
I believe that God is the Father of our spirits, which makes him the literal Dad of billions of people. The same people who lie and hurt each other, who steal and murder and commit hideous crimes. Something tells me that because God loves more purely than any of us, He likely feels pain more acutely than us. If He gave us the choice to make these mistakes, even when these mistakes will hurt His other children and hurt Him (probably most of all!), then what does that say about the importance of our freedom? Surely the freedom to screw up must be one of the most important gifts in the whole world! (Um…thanks??? 🙂 And then I realize:
Surely more good can come from our tragedies, our mistakes and our learning from them, than from never enduring hardships at all.
THAT is why we’re here.