"Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning" (Psalms 30:5) I had been thinking for awhile about realizing that for every loss we have, we gain something in return. Some times what we get is not what we think we want, and some times we think we are getting punished in return. Then I read Daniel Peterson's weekly column he writes in Mormon Times in the Deseret News last week. Dan was our long-time neighbor, church associate, study group colleague, and friend when we lived in Orem. He is easily one of the smartest people I know, if not the smartest. He is a professor of Arabic which, alone, is enough to make him an imposing intellect, but he has also lived all over the world, traveled all over the world, edited and written countless scholarly works, and read about everything. And yet he carries all of these credentials lightly, almost transparently. He writes last week about losing his half-brother, who was more his brother, and the bereft and orphaned feeling he had when the loss came.
My thoughts working through my mind before I read Dan's column surfaced anew. I thought of the many kinds of losses we experience, both when we are young and as we age. When we are young, we lose the innocence of childhood as we struggle to become adolsescents and then adults. We may lose hope, we may lose first loves, we may lose our perfect health, we may lose parents and family members, we may struggle with our faith. As we age, we begin to lose those around us, and the older we get, the more of those who have been dear to us leave before we depart ourselves. We lose mobility and agility, and we lose our pain-free bodies. We suffer transcendant disappointments and crushing losses and defeats and we wonder if we should let our faith wither like last year's sunflower, once so bright and yellow and cheerful, and now brown and sere like our broken hearts.
And the longer I thought about all of these things, the more I realized that I was missing something that was right in front of me all the time. While our courage may grow in adversity, we ponder our losses and wonder how we can ever cope with them. And then at some quiet moment it comes to us: We realize that we are not alone. And, as time goes by, we will never be alone. The indelible impressions that those we have loved made on our lives last for eternity, and we continue to be guided by their words, their smiles, and the permanence of the bonds between and among us. We always remain together. And we may finally may be willing to acknowledge, confronted with tragedy and crisis, that some power beyond us is also our constant companion through the troubled nights and the cloudy days. And one day, the sun shines again, through our tears and through our pain..