Today’s Talk: And There Shall Be No More Death by Paul V. Johnson
On August 19, 2011, I answered the phone as I juggled 3 young kids, my purse, and my Costco list. The voice on the other end said these words to me, “I’m sorry to tell you, but there were some cancer cells that showed up in the tests. I’m very sorry.”
That was the first time that I thought I was going to die.
In the 18+ months that followed, I had the thought of dying not only cross my mind, but set up camp there for a while. At times it was unbearable. How could I leave my family right now? My kids were between the ages of 4-12. I wasn’t done yet! I had so much more to teach them! And not only that but who would make sure the dog was fed, the toys were picked up, and the bathrooms were cleaned? Who would be the taxi service to get each of my four children to the right places at the right times? Who would kiss owies and wipe away tears of frustration? No. I was not ready to die.
And that is when I learned one of the greatest lessons of my entire life: Keep an eternal perspective.
Although it is important to take care of all of those daily details that mom’s encounter regularly, it is not as important as focusing on the bigger picture.
“The Resurrection is brought to pass by the Atonement of Jesus Christ and is pivotal to the great plan of salvation. We are spirit children of heavenly parents. When we come to this earth life, our spirit is united with our body. We experience all the joys and challenges associated with mortal life. When a person dies, their spirit is separated from their body. Resurrection makes it possible for a person’s spirit and body to be united again, only this time that body will be immortal and perfect—not subject to pain, disease, or other problems.” -Paul V. Johnson
Because of our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, we don’t need to worry about who will make sure the dog is being fed. We don’t need to worry about who will cart our children from one thing to the next. We don’t need to worry who will kiss their owies. In the great plan of salvation, those moments will last but a short moment and all will be well. Because of the Resurrection, our broken bodies and spirits will be healed completely someday.
Before I was diagnosed with cancer, I thought that I had faith in the plan of salvation. I thought that I had faith that God has a specific plan for me and for my family. But when cancer came into the picture, I was left sitting in the dust as my faith seemed to speed off into the sunset without me. I found myself on my knees nearly every moment that I could, begging my Father for peace to fill my heart; pleading with Him to soothe my fears and build me up. The answers came, but not all at once. I spent many hours crumbled into a heap on the floor, sobbing, shuttering, and crying massive amounts of tears. With each meltdown moment, I was blessed with just enough peace to calm me down. That would carry me to the next moment when the process would start all over again. With each moment of sorrow, and each blessing of peace that followed, I started to see that the sorrow would nearly always dissipate while the peace was compounded upon. What I mean by that is the peace that I was blessed with kept growing, while the moments of sorrow became less and less.
As I write this post today, I am a little over five years from that cancer diagnosis day. I still have meltdown moments about cancer and a gamut of other things, but because of my faith in the Savior, peace always comes. Sometimes it takes only a few moments, sometimes days, sometimes weeks. There are even a few things in my life that I still have not found complete peace with, but I just keep trying. I just keep praying, knowing that faith in the Savior can conquer anything.
“Each of us has physical, mental, and emotional limitations and weaknesses. These challenges, some of which seem so intractable now, will eventually be resolved. None of these problems will plague us after we are resurrected.” -Elder Johnson
So whether or not your limitations and challenges will be resolved here or after you are resurrected, it does not matter. What does matter is this. You have a Savior who loves you completely. You have a Savior who died for you so that someday you could be free from pain, disease, and sorrow. I know that this is true and I echo Elder Johnson’s final remarks and testimony.
“I testify of the reality of the Resurrection. Jesus Christ lives, and because of Him, we will all live again.”