Talking about these issues caused me to take a closer look at my own life, which, seems to be quite charmed. I found myself asking question like, "why doesn't anything bad ever happen to my family?" or "how are we so blessed when others seem to constantly struggle?" These questions filled my mind until I took another step back and realized that, yes, even my family has faced a lot of crises. In fact, we have faced 5 out of the ten things I listed.
Why then, have none of them had negative long-term effects on myself, or my family. The only answer that seemed to fit was the fact that my family seems to keep an eternal perspective. We remember Heavenly Father, and the Atonement. We live righteously so we can be at peace with our well being and the well being of our family members. The gospel is very much a part of our lives-- a part of our decisions, emotions, and behavior.
When my mom got cancer, it was very hard for me and my family. I had never seen my dad so sad, and I hope I never have to see him that way again. However, as sad and scary as the situation was, it brought so many blessings. Most of all it strengthened testimonies. As my mom went in for surgery she reminded me and my family that we have nothing to fear. She had been faithful, and she knew that through the whole process, whatever that entailed, she, and we, would never be left alone. We had Christ on our side, and we could be at peace.
After the cancer was gone and as she recovered, I noticed several blessings that came to my family because of her illness. We came together and it made me realize that, should anything like this ever happen again, I am surrounded by people who support and love me. I also gained a stronger testimony of the realness of the Atonement. Christ knows what each of his children are going through, and he will not leave you alone. Ever. In a way, I believe that my family was prepared for this simply because we each had a testimony of the Jesus Christ. We each understood his gospel, and we all knew that the teachings within it were true. The gospel of Jesus Christ is our foundation, and through Him, we can conquer anything.
Thinking about this also made me think about my mom's family of origin. She and her siblings have faced many major trials in their lives. However, they have each handled them with strength as they have stayed deeply rooted in the gospel and relied heavily on the Atonement. I believe that growing up in the gospel prepared them, starting at a young age, to face these problems with dignity. My mom's family always saved Monday nights for Family Night. On these nights they would learn about the gospel, play games, and gain strong relationships with one another. Just last week, my mom sent an email to me concerning some of these issues that her siblings are facing. In it, she said,
"I have such a strong testimony of Family Home Evening. You all know about my own family and the terrible things that happened in it. In spite of it all, we had great, meaningful Family Nights every Monday without fail where we learned the gospel and had lots of fun. I really believe that it is the reason we all came out as well as we did. Some of us had every reason to go off the deep end, but we didn't."
If we stay rooted in the gospel and remember the eternal perspective, I believe that we can come out of anything with our heads up. It will not be easy. Most family crises are extremely difficult, and at times it may seem much easier to drop everything and bail. We simply cannot think of that as an option. As we rely on Christ, and our family members to strengthen us, problems can be solved, issues can be minimized, and our love for one another can grow more than we imagined possible.
Everything is possible with Christ.