Life can get pretty rough at times.
Looking back 100 years I’m sure the challenges were different. Another 200 years in the past and the things that tried men’s souls were even more different.
I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty grateful to have the challenges of today and not yesterday. I’ll just mention indoor plumbing and a furnace. Need I say more?
You’ve heard the saying “When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.”
Ever wondered why?
If you get to the end and things are too hard, why not just let your fingers quietly slip from the rope?
There is something within each of us that innately tells us that there is more. This life isn’t all there is. We don’t die and cease to exist. All the work and effort applied in this life have to be for something we hope to be better.
And so we hold on.
We had a pretty great conversation with some of our neighbors about a week ago. These are wonderful, kind, loving people who are going through something that is just about as tough as it gets.
During the conversation one of them brought up a really valid frustration. He shared with us that he had hope in the life to come. His faith was strong enough to know that it would be better 100 years from now when we had all died and moved on to the next life.
I agree with him.
But his frustration was how to have the hope today, right in the middle of this multiple-year long horrific bout with cancer that will realistically be part of the rest of their lives.
How do you wake up each morning with hope in the day? Not tomorrow, but today.
Perhaps there are two thoughts here to explore:
How do we really imagine heaven to be? Is it a great vacation from all we have been doing here? No more work, no more stress, no more problems?
What is hope when related to the present and not the future?
These are just my thoughts and opinions. I don’t speak for anyone, just me. But while I have faith that the next life will be even better than this one, I don’t necessarily think it will be easier.
Just as the people 200 years ago, and 100 years ago, and now, have vastly different things that grind their faces into the mud, in the next 100, 200 and 1000 years people will have things that we probably can’t even imagine in our wildest dreams placed in their path that they will need to overcome.
I believe that we are constantly growing and changing. I’m not sure that there really is an “arrival” so much as there is a “continuation.”
In fact, it makes sense to me that those who reach the highest levels of eternity will not be free of pain and heartache; rather just the opposite. I believe they will be faced with the most intense pain, suffering, and sorrow.
Not from their own sin or bad choices, but of those whom they love.
Wouldn’t that be the real meaning of compassion? I think of the shortest verse of scripture being “Jesus wept.” His pain was not of his own doing, but for others suffering.
You see, as we develop greater capacities to love and feel and experience, we also develop the deep capacities to hurt.
Isn’t that one of the reasons we find pain in our path intermittently here on earth? We get it a dose at a time, kind of like an inoculation that helps our souls become strong enough to withstand the full onslaught that will come.
But only if we are fortunate enough to feel that deeply.
To me, that is more what heaven will be like for us. Not a holiday by any measure, but certainly more full and rich and intense than anything we have ever known.
So, what does that mean for having hope today, in the now and not in some abstract then?
It’s not necessarily for the good that we hope to come as much as it is about finding peace and strength in whatever our experience is now. (Source: LDS Media Library)
Hope is quiet, yet fortifying.
Hope is fragile, yet unbreakable.
Hope gives us a focal point in the distance, but also clarity to really see all that surrounds us now.
Do we hope that heaven will be a holiday from all our worries and troubles?
I hope not.
And all that comes with it.