I was privileged to sit with my family the other night in a very raw and emotional family meeting. I listened as each person expressed some of the sacred and tender feelings in our hearts. The impromptu meeting began when my dear son Riley walked into the library and expressed to Paul and I his fear that he is not doing enough to be connected to each family member and of not handling his situation well enough. He expressed his deep sadness in having to watch each of his family members suffer the effects of cancer. He explained how it troubles him to see our lives affected by cancer. He told us that he wants to take all the hurt upon himself and disappear. Of course he does, my sweet Riley is the most compassionate person I know, additionally, I totally understand his desire because I have expressed that very desire myself. If it were at all possible for me to take the cancer and all the hurt it has caused, I would swallow it up and disappear. Clearly, this isn’t possible and the thing is…. If I were to do that, or if Riley were to do that, we would be robbing each family member the opportunity to feel the intense emotions that come from loving someone so deeply while watching helplessly as they carry their burdens. We would be stealing the chance we each have to learn the important lessons that accompany something so painful. We would miss out on the tender experiences that come from something of this magnitude, and most importantly, we would not have the sacred opportunity to feel of the Saviors love in a way that only comes when your heart is completely ripped open and exposed to feeling the comfort the Savior is willing to give if you will let Him in.
If you’ve not been here, these statements probably sound crazy, however, I will tell you that there is a tender spirit, perhaps the Savior himself, who accompanies those in trials of this magnitude. There are definitely times, many times, when you feel completely alone, but I know that our Savior is very near.
As I record this experience I am reminded of another who watched on in deep sadness as his Son suffered, and even died. God himself has experienced the indescribable pain that accompanies the experience of watching a child suffer. And so I ask myself, am I greater than He? Should I be exempt of things that God Himself was willing to do? God watched on as His Son felt the pain, suffering, agony and torment that each of us has felt…. Accumulatively. He knew, for the good of all of us, He could not interfere. He knew of the greater plan and He showed me that everything works out exactly the way it should in the end. It is a heart wrenching and conflicting feeling to find hope in a situation like this. Our human mind tells us that we should NOT find peace, and that we should NOT feel comfort. Our human mind tells us that there can be no hope beyond this life. Thankfully, I have learned to FEEL, WITH MY HEART, I have come to know what TRUTH FEELS LIKE IN MY BODY. This is TRUTH… God lives. God loves each of us more than we can comprehend. God does not give people cancer. God created a perfect world and we, humans, polluted it, manipulated nature, distorted truth, and mutated cells. These are the things that cause cancer. In addition to our human imperfections, lets not forget satan and a third of the host of Heaven who are pissed that they don’t have a body and want us to be miserable…. Perhaps they should be blamed for cancer? (squirrel)
Anyway… Truth, I was describing TRUTH. Life does exist beyond what we can see with our human eyes. This time on earth is like a knot in a fishing line – almost imperceptible in the eternal perspective. The lessons we learn on this earth are very important, it is a time for us to gain a body and to learn what it feels like to experience emotions, addictions, hurt and pleasure in our bodies. Our bodies are not currently immortal, but one day they will be. We have each been given a very specific mission that will enable us to learn the things that we need to learn, and while doing so, there are certain people who will learn valuable lessons from us. Yes, everything happens for a reason, however, don’t forget that we all have agency. Each choice we make has ripple effects that are far more reaching than we can imagine. We have loved ones who have passed before us who surround us and help us everyday. We will be with our families for eternity. Hope does not end when our mortal bodies wear out…. Hope extends forever. There is always hope. There is always something to be grateful for, and there is always good news. Sometimes we have to remove the hand that is too close to our face in order to bring what lies beyond into focus. God has a plan for us, all we have to do is trust Him… and hope.