Today is the last in the series. There is still plenty to be grateful for, but it has been good for me to focus on the silver linings in life's difficulties this month. To find gratitude even in the stress.
Life just keeps coming at you, you know? There can be stress to be found on every side. Keeping everyone happy, encouraged and fed around here is pretty much a full time job. In addition to the all the average, everyday things on the schedule are the stresses from outside the home. Distractors. Voices that confuse. Pressures to be a certain way. To think a certain way. Some of these voices are loud and obnoxious.
While that might lead your thoughts in many directions, today mine are turned to one voice that continually gains traction with a very outspoken minority: the voice of non-belief.
I admit that faith doesn't come very naturally for me. Not long ago I was listening to a FAIR podcast where the author spoke about the scripture in D & C encourages learning by seeking knowledge out of the best books. He pointed out, however, that the first part of the scripture actually says, "And as all have not faith seek ye wisdom . . ." In other words, that faith is not a spiritual gift that come naturally to everyone, and that seeking wisdom until faith comes is entirely acceptable. This was very helpful to me: I studied a long time before I arrived at a testimony. Regular study of all kinds of knowledge is still vitally important to my continued growing testimony.
So, for me, the voice of the non-believers is sometimes kind of seductive. And then a thing happens like happened yesterday and I remember why I believe.
A family that I didn't know in Texas lost a daughter yesterday in tragic accident. Their son was injured too. I bring them up because it seems that many of my other friends new them. Girls who were just little primary kids when we lived there are now lovely young women with their whole lives ahead of them. This sweet girl was their dear friend. Their Facebook pages from yesterday include pictures of themselves with this lovely young woman who died so young and vibrantly. Their tribute words are full of faith and joy and optimism for a future still to come.
I also followed a friend's Facebook post to the blog of a woman who married a boy I knew in high school. Their only child, a daughter, died on Tuesday at just 18 months after a long bout of illness. Her little body and spirit had been through so much. Their final wish was that she not be resuscitated in the hopes that all her tiny organs might be donated and give a Thanksgiving miracle to families across the country this week. What will their prayers be like tomorrow? Her blog post tells me that her sorrow will be tempered with the sweetest gratitude a mother-heart can muster.
I don't understand why these things happen. I long ago stopped pretending to. I don't know what is and isn't God's will and I won't presume to say.
But I do know this. My belief in a benevolent God gives me remarkable comfort when such unexplainable things happen. I don't know how people get by without a belief in eternity. It seems that it would be very hard to get close to people because of the damage that would be left behind every time one of them died. As hard as it is sometimes for me to faith. . . it is so much harder to me to not believe. It is a place that is too lonely and dark and final. I just can't believe that sweet, lovely girl and that tender baby are just gone for good and for always except in memories. I'm grateful for belief that, even when it cannot give me answers, at least can give peace. As long as the deepest human part inside of us needs comfort, belief will persist. When belief persists, truth can also be found.