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Sunday, May 03, 2009

Spiritual Superglue

In Lesson 15 of the teacher's manual for the LDS Gospel Doctrine class (Sunday School), there is a terrific story illustrating the gift of inspiration that can come when we turn to the Lord in prayer.
As we were busily preparing for a Christmas dinner, my teenaged sister excitedly reached into the cupboard for the silver-rimmed china. The lovely set had been Grandmother's wedding present to Mom and Dad and was used only on special occasions. But as my sister removed some of the precious plates from the cupboard, she bumped her arm and the china slipped from her hands. Her desperate attempts to recover the plates were in vain, and the crash of china shattering on the floor was as heartbreaking as the look of helpless horror on her face.

Mother's meal-preparing hands stopped in midair, and the festive chatter of a bustling household ceased as we all stood frozen in awful silence. Without turning around to see the damage, Mother quietly slipped out of the room. Then the rest of us tried to resume the tempo of our holiday duties.

Except my sister. She stood motionless, a big tear trickling down her cheek. As another tear fell, she mechanically found the broom and dustpan and began sweeping up the scattered chips. Then on her knees, she slowly picked up the larger pieces and carefully placed them in the dustpan.

Within a few minutes Mother returned to the kitchen and wrapped her arms around her grieving daughter. My sister began to sob out loud. Quietly [Mother] soothed, "That's all right, honey; people are more important than things."

Mother later told me that she had gone into the other room to pray and was blessed with a peaceful feeling and the inspiration of how to comfort my sister. The gift of spiritual perspective given to my mother that Christmas day became the most priceless gift our family received. (Laura Russell Bunker, "The Art of Perspective," Ensign, Dec. 1998, 54-55).
I've been that teenager standing before the shattered china several times in my life (usually in a figurative sense, but I've caused my share of physical disasters as well). I've also been on the receiving end, facing that startling moment of pain and unseen opportunity when something precious is suddenly destroyed by the mistake of another. How wise that mother was, how blessed her daughter and entire family was, because she had the discipline and wisdom to pause and pray before reacting to the pain.

There are spiritual gifts of inspiration that God can give us if we seek them and seek Him in our moments of grief, inspiration that can turn everything around, even transforming broken china and a child's terror into powerful bonds of love with the miraculous spiritual gift of charity, the ultimate superglue.

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

I love that story because it is such a beautiful example of forgiveness. In my youthful ignorance I used to wonder why it was so important to forgive, why the Lord would say in D&C 64 that of us "it is required to forgive all men" and that failure to do so is such a great sin. Having lived through some experiences of needing it from my fellow men, I know how devastating it is not to receive it, although I know the Lord has forgiven me. I have forgiven others of some pretty heavy things, too.

With the Atonement and forgiveness, the Lord can spiritually superglue us back together again (we can't do it ourselves). I think that through forgiving others, we can be a part of the Atonement in another sense. Forgiveness is the ultimate love, or charity, which I think why he who is the definition of love, the Savior, so freely extends it, if we repent.