1 February 2012
I wrote this post in February but it has been lost in the cue of other posts I have written but never put on the blog. I don’t know why but I feel compelled to post it now……………….
Any time tragedy strikes those outside the immediate impact marvel at how the family or people can manage to get through the terrible tragedy. Often you hear things like, “I could never handle that.” or “You are so strong.” I wanted to give an insider’s view to this situation. We aren’t any stronger than anyone else, we don’t have any great secret that allows us to gather ourselves together to face the next day of trauma. The only thing that is different between those in it and those not is the…. NEED. All of the emotions that people think they will experience during a tragedy or a traumatic event, we do experience. It is just required that we continue to get out of bed each day. It isn’t internal strength but necessity. If you were in that situation you would find a way to move forward each day too!
Those Mormon Pioneers that are so revered for their courage, perseverance and strength weren’t so different from us. They stayed on the trail because there was nowhere else to go. To return and cross over the river again meant that they would certainly come face to face with a mob wanting to kill them. That mob provided the fuel to continue putting their “shoulder to the wheel”. Even those Saints that crossed the plains without the real threat of a mob still were homeless anyway. They had left their homes, families and anything that mattered to them in their country of origin. Necessity pushed their handcarts. The difference was that on the trail there was HOPE that things could and would be better.
I can’t begin to explain how the Spirit has walked with us giving us that kind of HOPE. If you have read this blog you know that I believe without reservation that God is real and that his Son gave the ultimate sacrifice so that I could learn and grow from my mistakes, experiences, sorrows and joys. I also believe that God and his Son are distinctly separate beings and with the Holy Ghost the three of them work together in perfect harmony for our individual and eternal good.
The Savior makes it REAL and possible to evolve and remove those rough edges in our personalities and those sharp edges that life requires we experience. This journey with Brain Injury is one of those sharp edges. The comfort we received was physical, tangible and outside of ourselves, an unseen power; The Atonement. The Atonement isn’t just for “sinners” but really aren’t we all in that category? I don’t know anyone who handles things perfectly every time. We all make mistakes and sometimes they can be big ones with long reaching consequences that can’t be “fixed” only learned from.
I believe the Atonement is for the express purpose to allow us to make mistakes without falling into that deep dark hole of regret and self- loathing that keeps us chained. It provides us a way to move forward when we are stuck and our own strength is not enough for release. It allows us to find relief from the burdens thrust upon us by other people and those we create for ourselves though errors in judgment, human frailty, pride and just plain stupidity.
I believe that God knew that our ability to choose perfectly would be hindered in this mortal place and in his wisdom, grace and mercy he provided the Atonement so we could learn through our own experiences. The Savior takes on all our sorrows regardless of the source and provides us clarity and hope to move forward. That is how we could persevere.
HOPE provides the fuel to get through the most horrific of days and still manage to get up and try again. Hope provides a balm when you don’t have the strength to do anything else. Hope and Faith are interconnected and I can’t begin to be an expert on this but I know that those Pioneers probably had days where they were grumbling in their hearts, feeling weak or asking all those “why me” questions, wishing things were different.
I think it is unfair to compare our internal spiritual journey to the outward expressions of someone else. I think it sets us up for feelings of unworthiness and disappointment if we expect ourselves to never question, wonder, worry, doubt or feel the weight and sorrows of life.
Faith is the definition of putting those issues to rest, though not resolved and believing anyway.
So, though I do assert that necessity provides the strength to push forward; FAITH and HOPE make it possible to maintain a positive outlook in the darkest time. It is the difference between just getting through it and being able to say “Thy Will, not mine, be done,” when all you want to do is beg and plead.
FAITH and HOPE provide the peace that says you can make it no matter how hard it gets.
The Atonement provides us a way to look at others compassionately knowing that we have NO IDEA what life is like for them and the struggles they are wrestling with because we all struggle with something. We can forgive a deep hurt that shakes you to your foundation. We can find mercy for those who fail us when we need it most, including ourselves.
I have always been a spiritually minded sort but this last life lesson has clarified so specifically the role of the Atonement in my everyday life, not just for those times I say terrible “Grandma words” or when I hurt others without any intention or in anger, or if I break one of the Big 10.
I have the opportunity to sit in council with my Savior and give an accounting of my day, good and bad, and seek for his wisdom to provide a plan to improve, learn to accept my own limitations and learn to love deeper and serve more. Ultimately, it is daily divine therapy that helps me learn and practice being more like him and come closer to who I am meant to be. I can try again!
I have a deep understanding what it feels like to be at the mercy of my Savior’s compassion without any claim or expectation of relief or a miracle. I have never before experienced the sweet relief of a burden the way I did during that stressful time. It didn’t make the problems go away but it was a literal lifting of my heart to part the dark clouds circling with the debilitating storm on the horizon.
I feel such indebtedness to the Lord for reaching out to me in all my imperfectness and loving me in spite of it all. The words of several hymns surge through my mind when I contemplate the perfectness of the Atonement and how truly blessed I feel. I am not quite ready to say I would go through it again to learn this stuff but I am so grateful for these beautiful truths.
I Stand All Amazed at the Love Jesus Offers ME….Confused at the grace that so FULLY he proffers me.
I Need Thee Every Hour…Teach me thy will…thy rich promises in me fulfill.
Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing….Streams of mercy, never ceasing.
Praise the Mount, I’m fixed upon it! Mount of thy redeeming love!