I dreamt all last night that every time I stretched my knee in my sleep that it shot shooting pains up my leg. Funny thing was that when I woke up this morning it wasn’t so much a dream as it was reality. Same knee that I have always struggled with, same knee that years ago I had surgery on. Today Stephanie gets the joy of once more going back to the dentist for the thousandth time in the last 2 ½ months. Her retainer fell out once again and she gets the joy of getting it cemented back in. Between a retainer that just will not stay in and will not do what it is supposed to do and the abscessed tooth that she had to deal with that would not heal despite whatever they did to help it heal and finally having an allergic reaction to the amoxicillin that she was on that little girl has gone through more than an adult would want to endure with the dentist.
This morning in our family scripture study we talked about the war in heaven and how many of our brothers and sisters fell. We have finished the Book of Mormon once again and we are trying something new. We are trying to follow along with the new curriculum that the youth have in young women’s and young men’s and Sunday school. It’s already proving a challenge because I don’t want to follow what is on site with the Church because I don’t want to repeat what is already being given them. As we discussed the third this morning that went astray it was brought up that the whole war in heaven came because of Satan’s greed for all the glory and for one other thing…our agency. I think that’s what we will focus on this week is our agency.
Sometimes I wonder why we have to have pain in this life, my knee, Stephanie’s mouth, but I am always grateful that my pains seem to be so much less than so many I know. Why does life have to be this way? In the scriptures it talks about how everything has its opposites so we can realize the good. Pain is there so we can understand how good it feels when we are healthy, but I also believe pain is there to test our agency. Oh, yes, we all have agency and it may even be exactly what we call it when we say “free,” but our consequences to that agency is not in our control once the action is done. Now Stephanie could complain, if anyone had the right to she does, but she doesn’t because she exercises her agency to be joyful even when she has every right not to be. What are her consequences in return? This nightmare of an experience for her although hard and seemingly unbearable at times has been bearable, and her heart has been light and she has been happy when maybe she could have been sad. And what are men?... “Men are that they might have joy.”
I often look at my children and see the strength in them. Some of that strength they are learning as hopefully all of us are in this earth life, but some of it so clearly came with them from the world before, from the people that they were already struggling and learning to be before they came to this earth…Stephanie’s patience in difficulties and sweetness no matter what, Sam’s deep thinking and determination to do what’s right, Suzy’s brilliance and tender but very strong nature, Nan’s joy and compassion, Jenny’s strength and ability to take care of herself in every situation, and Luke’s hard work ethic and desire to serve others no matter the cost. All of these things my children brought with them and I have the opportunity to learn from their strengths and hopefully direct them when the use their agency. Oh sure they will fall at times, I do more often than I would like, but because our Heavenly Father loves us there is always a way back. And pain, whether physical or emotional may be part of the consequences of living this life can become one of our greatest blessings if we exercise our agency so that the consequences bring us growth and ultimately help us to find our way back home. After all, “Men are that they might have joy,” and what greater joy could there be then going home, home to our Heavenly Father, to our Savior, and to our loved ones who wait for us there?