Thursday, June 18, 2009


I was struck by an interesting question that was asked of me today. Upon learning that my sweet father in law has the same kind of cancer my mother passed away from, and through the experiences we have faced with the difficulties my son has had since birth with a seizure disorder, what have I learned from these trials?

Wow. I’m not sure my answer could possibly convey all that is in my heart. But maybe far too simply put I have come to believe in the power of hope, faith, prayer, and I certainly believe in miracles.

I also recognize there must be opposition in all things. There is no way to pass through this mortal existence with out it. But D&C 58:4 tells us that after much tribulation comes blessings. We must all endure to the end; we all have our struggles, trials, and challenges to bear. To rise above opposition we must have hope and faith. Faith and hope together can overcome our fears.
In one of my favorite talks given by Elder Russell M. Nelson, he reminds us that Faith supplants fear, hope displaces fear. And of course the scriptures tell us, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27.) To me, what an incredible blessing to hold on to when I am afraid of the challenges that are put before me. I cling to that promise when my heart is full of fear.
To rise above opposition we must not only have hope and faith but a determination as well. There’s a poem about opposition that a kind friend shared with me. It touched my heartstrings because it talks about those who have had things put before them yet chose not to let it hold them back.

I don’t know who the author is, I apologize. But I believe it’s called Opposition.

--Cripple him and you have Sir Walter Scott
--Bury him in the snows of Valley Forge, and you have George Washington
--Raise him in poverty, and you have Abraham Lincoln.
--Subject him to bitter, religious strife and you have Franklin Delanore Roosevelt, the only U.S. President to serve four terms in office.
--Burn him so severely in a school fire that doctors say he will never walk again and you have Glenn Cunningham, who set the world record on 1034 for running the mile in 4 in 6.7 sec.
--Deafen a genius composer and you have Ludwig Van Beethoven.
--Have them born into a society filled with racial prejudice and hatred and you have Booker T. Washington, Harriet Tubman, and Martin Luther King Jr.
--Have him born into a Nazi concentration camp, paralyze him from the waist down at the age of four, and you have Eatman Pearlman, the incomparable pianist.
--Call him retarded and write him off as uneducated and you have Albert Einstein.
--Amputate the cancer-ridden leg of a young Canadian, and you have Terry Fox, who ran half way across Canada on artificial legs.
--Take both legs away from him and you have Douglas Bater, an RAF fighter pilot who was captured three times by the Germans and who escaped 3 times on artificial limbs.
--Label him too stupid to learn and you have Thomas Edison.
--Call him dull, hopeless, and flunk him out of school in the 6th grade, and you have the famous statesman Winston Churchill
--Tell a boy who loves to draw that he has no talent and you have Walt Disney.
--Take a man who did nothing wrong to anyone, and spit on him, mock him, be his trusted friend the completely turn your back on him, and you have Jesus of Nazareth, The Christ and Savior of the world.

While the trials spoken to me today have not really been my own to bear but those of my loved ones, I have learned much by watching each of them as they face have faced their trials head on.

Never will I forget my son coming out of brain surgery, lying in intensive care. His little face was swollen to unrecognizable proportions. I asked him if he was okay. He smiled and said, “I’m great.”

My mother, when she was at her worst was asked about her cancer, “Why you?”
She just shook her head and said, “Why not me?” She went on to participate in research for one of the medications now being used to treat this particular kind of cancer. It is gratifying for me to know that some of what she faced was for the good of others.

And now as my father in law faces his challenges, I stand in awe for the calm determination in which he faces his treatments. Yes, full of hope and faith.

I do believe in miracles. I love and admire those who have taught me such valued lessons to rise above opposition with such grace, and dignity. It’s my hope that as my own trials come, I too can face them full of faith and courage.


Cheri J. Crane said...

Beautifully written post, Jeri. And you are so right---we all face our own Gethsemanes in life. Those are the very experiences that shape us into stronger individuals.

You and your family members are courageous examples to us all. =)

Michele Ashman Bell said...

Oh Jeri, these are sweet, tender thoughts. Thank you for sharing your heart with us.

Valerie said...

Great, great post, Jeri. I'm glad you're surrounded by such wonderful people, both because you deserve it and because they deserve you too :-) There's a reason we're in families, you know. And friends are just extended family, right :-)