Thursday, August 16, 2012

It's a Miracle

Miracles happen. I have experienced them. But sometimes they take time and require work.

I recently stood in what I consider to be one of the most sacred places on earth. Like others there, I was clothed in white. I stood inside the entrance and waited for probably 90 seconds, although; it seemed like much longer.

Finally I could see him coming. My son approached the large entrance looking at the glorious room beyond. An inner glow seemed to make his face as radiant as the white clothing he wore. When he saw me he rushed forward through the doorway and gripped me in a full body embrace.

One by one the family members in attendance filtered into the room, each clad in white. Tears were soon slipping freely from my son's eyes, to the point that drops were falling from his chin. My sister-in-law kindly offered a Kleenex.

This day had been long in coming. I long doubted it would come. As a young child my son seemed to carry the light of heaven with him. He had an innate strong faith and frequently had spiritual experiences. His early school years brought a variety of challenges, including serious moodiness, regularly being bullied, and a third grade teacher that often publicly harassed and verbally abused this tender boy (a fact we discovered late in the year).

Even through those dark times the inner light still shown. Something changed during my son's teens. He never fit in well with the youth in our neighborhood or congregation. He felt that those that should have been his strongest supporters treated him noxiously. It hurt him when his contemporaries in the congregation would treat him badly outside of church.

Eventually my son sought acceptance in other circles where he could feel comfortable. Unfortunately, this ease meant that seldom did anyone in these groups encourage companions to aspire to their better selves, as would a true friend. My son's previously bright countenance became darkened as he increasingly pulled away from spirituality and higher moral values.

That's not to say that all was bad during those years. We (especially my wife) still had a fairly good relationship with our son. He still helped out at home. He had gainful employment until he developed a mystifying chronic illness that made college and work difficult.

Eventually my son started to feel his way back to the goodness he had known in his youth. It was pretty awkward at first. For quite a while it was as if he was trying to walk with one foot in the light and one in the dark. A breakthrough occurred when relapsing into behavior that he had promised to forsake caused him to realize that he wanted something better.

We began weekly father-son meetings that over the months went from uncomfortable to deeply sweet and precious. These were aided by regular meetings with ecclesiastical figures. Little by little the light that I had seen in my young son's face began to illuminate his soul again, but on a much deeper level. Over time he came to know for himself the power of the Savior's Atonement.

A relatively minor surgery miraculously improved my son's chronic illness, allowing him to consider service that had previously been foreclosed to him. In preparation for this service we recently found ourselves in what for us is a holy place, clothed in white, embracing, and experiencing great joy.

The change my son has experienced has been nothing short of miraculous. He is a new person— much more the person he could and should be. He is much happier. And because of that I am happier.

Miracles do happen. Sometimes they take time and effort. But when that is the case, they are well worth whatever is required.

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