These past few days my mind has been on trials. Like everyone else, I am currently facing a few. Some are due to life in general, (people get old, people get sick, economies fail and everyone struggles). Other trials are due to the wrong choices of others. These are the hardest, I believe, as they cause so many innocent people to suffer deep, agonizing pain, where if other choices had been made, the same people could have found joy.
My family is facing both.
Although I do not wish to mitigate the suffering of others, I have been reminded of a man I met several years ago while traveling out of the country--our tour guide, Juan. Whenever something didn’t go as planned, he would always say, “This is better.” And then find a reason why being in a traffic jam for an hour, the hotel not being ready on time, or our bus driver getting lost was really for our benefit. After all, in the traffic jam we were able to see the different license plates used in the country, the hotel not being ready gave us extra shopping time and our bus driver getting lost allowed us to see an area of the city not on our itinerary. So, “This is better” became true.
Since then, my husband and I have often joked to each other, “This is better” when things in our lives have gone wrong. I realize there are some heart aches too deep, and experiences too painful to easily find something “better” in, but I have also discovered that every trial can come with a positive learning experience and in every heart ache there can eventually be found some joy.
This past week is an example. As many of you know, my mother has been very ill. After spending 27 days in the hospital, suffering sepsis, a major surgery and a stroke, she went home only to return to the hospital three days later with a kidney infection. She is now home again and progress is incremental. And so my daughter Michelle and I went to visit her and help out with her care. The fact that we were there because my mother was sick was not a good thing, and we are certainly praying for a speedy and complete recovery, but in this trial, even my mother has been able to find some benefits.
If she hadn’t been ill, I would have been somewhere else during spring break and she enjoyed our visit.
While in Utah, I was able to spend time with my four sisters, something I very much enjoy doing, but am not able to do very often.
During my mother’s illness, a brother who is not active in the church, has come by frequently to visit. He is not very social, and my recent time with him has been more than in the previous twenty years combined.
Mom has been able to feel the tremendous love of her neighbors as so many of them have come by to visit and assist.
My heart has been filled to overflowing as I have seen my father serve my mother so tenderly. He has cared for her personal needs from helping her shower to following her around with a comb in his hand, making sure the back of her hair is “beautiful”. And I believe he is learning a little bit of patience.
My mother loves to serve others and the day we left to return to AZ she got up at 1:30 in the morning to make us muffins for breakfast. Not able to do it on her own meant my father also had to get up and help. When I saw the result of their middle-of-the night cooking adventure the following morning, I exclaimed, “Wow, muffins made with love.” My dad added, “And a little anger.” We all laughed at that.
And so my goal this week is to find the “better” in whatever life brings my way. I am hoping my children and husband are up to the challenge as well, for just now I noticed that dinner is burning. It appears I will very quickly get to test the theory as I try to help my family discover why a burnt offering for dinner is actually “better.” :-)
Wish me luck! And may you always find . . . joy in the journey!
D&C 98: 3 Therefore, he giveth this promise unto you, with an immutable covenant that they shall be fulfilled; and all things wherewith you have been afflicted shall work together for your good and to my name’s glory, saith the Lord.