In the Book of Mormon, there is a record of a family who traveled from the Tower of Babel to the American continent. The family of Jared soon received their first glimpse of a vast, stormy ocean, having been required of the Lord to crawl into some mysterious air-tight vessels they were promised would carry them safely to a better place. As they gazed into the deep, moving water, they breathed the unfamiliar sea salt and felt the ice cold water lap at their feet. "What will become of our family?" "Can we do this thing that God requires of us?"

These were the questions we asked as our family stood on the edge of a new journey in February 2011. Before Cathi was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer, we saw the waves of an unfamiliar storm brewing and felt the fear of anticipation. When the cancer was certain, our family was required to wade into the cold water, crawl into a mysterious vessel and trust the Lord would be in charge.

The family of Jared was given stones touched by the finger of the Lord that provided light inside their vessels "that they might not cross the great waters in darkness......and it came to pass that...(they) set forth into the sea, commending themselves unto the Lord their God. And it came to pass that the Lord God caused that there should be a furious wind blow upon the face of the waters, towards the promised land; and thus they were tossed upon the waves of the sea before the wind. And it came to pass that they were many times buried in the depths of the sea, because of the mountain waves which broke upon them, and also the great and terrible tempests which were caused by the fierceness of the wind. And it came to pass that when they were buried in the deep there was no water that could hurt them, their vessels being tight like unto a dish, and also they were tight like unto the ark of Noah; therefore when they were encompassed about by many waters they did cry unto the Lord, and he did bring them forth again upon the top of the waters. And it came to pass that the wind did never cease to blow towards the promised land while they were upon the waters; and thus they were driven forth before the wind. And they did sing praises unto the Lord; yea, the brother of Jared did sing praises unto the Lord, and he did thank and praise the Lord all the day long; and when the night came, they did not cease to praise the Lord. And thus they were driven forth; and no monster of the sea could break them, neither whale that could mar them; and they did have light continually, whether it was above the water or under the water." Read the rest:

This blog is the captain's log of our family's journey. It will serve to keep all of you updated on Cathi's condition but also be a place where I can express the lessons we are learning so that it might be a source of strength for others who are going through difficult challenges. We are certainly not unique in this regard. I hope to continue trusting in the light we have been given and to lead our family when we are encompassed by the dark ocean or tossed by its waves. We sincerely seek for your faith in asking the Lord to calm the water, give strength beyond our own and lead all of us of us to a better place.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Navigating the Waves

I recently heard from an old school friend who is going through some pretty tough challenges and decided to share with her something I am learning as I imperfectly handle the trials that come my way. I hope this might also help someone else reading this blog.

Think of yourself on a journey alone in a boat on the ocean. The ocean is your life . . . a lot of waves carrying you up and down. The distant land represents your greatest, lasting desires, the people you love, your life's purpose. When you are down and surrounded by waves, you lose sight of the landscape and are sometimes consumed in darkness. When you are up, you are able to catch a glimpse of the distant shore and be filled with hope. YOU cannot control the ups and downs . . . but you can manage the boat you are in. This vessel gives you the ability to choose . . . choices that will impact how you experience life and whether or not you will reach the shore and your life's purpose.

Sometimes you find yourself gritting your teeth and using oars to row as hard as you can. You row and row and row . . . only to find that you become tired, frustrated and angry that you aren't getting anywhere, despite all of your best efforts. It is then easy to make another choice . . . to stop and give up. There are times you may find yourself lying face up in the boat, allowing yourself to become absorbed with only you and your challenge. You forget about your periodic glimpses of the land and lose your focus on reaching it. Without these glimpses, you can easily give into fear or helplessness or discouragement. Because you've decided to focus on only your immediate surroundings, you see and feel the same things over and over again and forget about the journey. The thought of trying to row the oars again seems difficult and foolish. Abandoning the boat may even become more than a fleeting thought.

Then, as your eyes wander upward, you see something you never noticed before. Attached to the boat is a long, sturdy sail mast with a sail and rope. You suddenly remember the journey and feel a rush of hope. For the first time, you become keenly aware of the constant breeze you've always felt but never stopped to consider. You sit up and decide to hoist the sail. As you do, a giant wave lifts you from the darkness and for just a moment, you not only see the land but have a clear view of all the people that love you on the shore. Your sail is filled with the wind and your heart is filled with love. Your boat begins to move across the deep water as the breeze caresses your hair and you hear the words, "I gave my only Begotten Son so that he could save you because you can't possibly save yourself. Let him be your power and your strength. Let him carry you through the darkness and uncertainty of life. Give yourself to him and let him determine your choices. He is someone you can trust. But YOU must first acknowledge the breeze and YOU must hoist the sail."