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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Realizing the fragility of life

This weekend has been unexpectedly tragic. Emily and I found out that the husband and soon to be father of one of the couples we had become acquainted with in the ward passed away in a motorcycle accident. Soon after we heard news that one of our nursery kids drowned in an accident and is in critical condition. I suddenly felt overwhelmingly and abundantly blessed. I regret that such tragedies are what is necessary to bring me to such a conclusion. I worry about the smallest things and get upset at the slightest inconvenience. And for what? What will it do for me in the years to come?

Whats really important: I woke up this morning in my own bed under my own roof next to my wife, who I am madly in love with and who is beautiful beyond any definition. I am healthy, physically, mentally, and emotionally. I have food in my kitchen and a job. I have an education with the opportunity to continue learning and growing. I know the purpose of my life, where I need to go. I have a family who loves me no matter what. I have friends who have become to me like family. I live in a beautiful country that allows me the God given freedoms of life. I know this list could go on forever.

I watched a movie today, a documentary produced by a couple of guys my age who wanted to learn what the purpose of the human experience was. In order to learn more they lived homeless for a week, visited an orphanage for handicap and physically disabled children in Peru, and accompanied a journalist to Ghana where they were introduced to a leper colony and an HIV/AIDS care center. I know some people would find these movies depressing, but for some reason I find them empowering. I look at what is documented- at the experience of all these people- and I think, "this is the world I live in. I am a part of this community whether I choose to acknowledge it or not, so what am I doing to be a solution and not a problem? It gives me courage and a sense of purpose. It pushes me to pursue my dreams- the ones I feel are so far away and so difficult to accomplish.


One particular part of the film really moved me. It was an interview they conducted with a woman who was infected with HIV/AIDS. The man conducting the interview had a mother pass away from the disease when he was very young, and this interview was sort of a form of healing for him. He asked her, "If you could say one thing to your children that they would remember you by, what would it be?" Her response was in essence, "Trust in God. Follow the Laws of God and live your life according to His commandments and He will provide for you in every way." This was coming from a woman who had become infected by a disease without a cure and with a 100% fatality rate. No amount of science or explanation of physical existence could surpass the wisdom found in this woman who had come to understand what life and death were in a very real way.

I hope I can trust in God the way she does. I hope no matter what happens to me in my life, I can trust that there is a God, that He does care about my suffering, and that He loves me. Life is so fragile. It is a treasure to every individual on this planet. Every single one of us at some point believes our life is a rare and worthwhile opportunity. Sometimes the experiences of this life bring us to the precipices of purpose and the drastic spectrum's of human emotion and reality. These experiences can actually build our view, our realities, our character into permanent personalities. If we examine these experiences, and ourselves, in a proper way we will be all the better for it.

Our lives are for living. Our freedom is to choose how we will react to what living we are given. Our duty is to give freely the opportunity of life that we enjoy to others around us.

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