Just home from his mission for two weeks, my son had spent the day looking for meaningful work and receiving guidance for the fall university semester. He had spent the evening trying to find his returned missionary social footing. Feeling a bit like a fish out of Uruguay waters he announced, with a hint of “Castiano,” that he was headed solo to Arctic Circle to get a shake. I’ve experience the transition between mission and civilian life with my other children. I know it doesn’t last forever, but my mother heart ached a bit for him.
As he was pulling the car out of the garage the phone rang. It was for him. “Yea! Social interaction!” I thought. I wanted to catch him before his drove off, so I grabbed the phone and headed for the garage. The garage door was headed down and my son was just turning out of the driveway and heading down the street. I hit the electric opener, sending the door up and ran for the opening. My son glanced back to make sure he had shut the door. Seeing the door going up and not seeing me, he hit the remote in the car again. Having no idea the door was now on the way down and wanting to catch the slow moving car I ran full force for the opening. The next thing I knew I was seeing stars. With great force and a lot of noise the garage door came crashing down on my head.
My son heard the noise, saw me and understood exactly what had occurred. Holding my hand to my head, in a bit of a daze, and having no idea how I could have misjudged so badly, I walked the phone out to the car and handed it to my son, who explained to me his view of the collision.
God must have wanted to get a message into my thick head that night. As I walked back into the house with my head ringing I thought, “Now that was the very picture of the truth that doing good is not a guarantee against bad, against pain, against being slammed in the head, in this case literally!”
This is very important information. Many of us spend years of our lives trying to “get it right” so that everything will go “just right.” The expectation proves debilitating. When things don’t go perfectly in accordance with the good we have done, when things come falling or crashing down, as the case may be, we often waste valuable energy wondering if we can really trust God and worrying about and doubting our ability to choose rightly.
Nephi tells us that a life full of affliction and a life full of the goodness of God can and do coexist. We do not have to look very far into his writings to find this truth expressed. The most read verse in the Book of Mormon is undoubtedly 1 Nephi 1:1. “… having seen many afflictions in the course of my days, nevertheless, having been highly favored of the Lord in all my days; yea, having had a great knowledge of the goodness and the mysteries of God…”
Elder Perry expresses it this way, “Those of us who have been around a while…have recognized certain patterns in life’s test. There are cycles of good and bad times, ups and downs, periods of joy and sadness, and times of plenty as well as scarcity. When our lives turn in an unanticipated and undesirable direction, sometimes we experience stress and anxiety. One of the challenges of this mortal experience is to not allow the stresses and strains of life to get the better of us. It is to endure the varied seasons of life while remaining positive, even optimistic…We can’t predict all the struggles and storms in life, not even the ones just around the next corner, but as persons of faith and hope, we know beyond the shadow of any doubt that the gospel of Jesus Christ is true and the best is yet to come” (Ensign, Nov. 2008, 7).
The Alcoholic in recovery deals with the in-congruence between the good we do and the trials that inevitably come, with this understanding; “…acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, or situation – some fact of my life – unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in God’s world by mistake” (Big Book Page 449 3rd Edition).
Not even a bump on the head!
By Nannette W.
Posted Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Copyright 2008 by Nannette W. All rights reserved. Making or sending copies is permitted if the page is not changed in any way and the material is not used for profit. This notice must be included on each copy made or sent.