Pluck the Joy
17 Miracles is a film worth taking the time to see. I watched it last summer and then shared it with my grandkids when I was back east a few weeks ago. What horrific challenges the members of the Martin and Willie Handcart companies endured. To have maintained their dignity and their ability to perform selfless acts of compassion, during their ordeal, is truly a testament to their goodness.
One of my favorite diary quotes in the movie goes something like this: "Though the trek was extremely difficult, there were moments along the trail that were as magnificent as anything I have ever experienced."
Wouldn’t you say that to notice beauty with a heart full of gratitude, during troubled times, is the mark of a true Saint?
Years ago, the day my son Paul was diagnosed with cerebral palsy as a baby, I recall leaving the doctor's office with him strapped in his car seat in the back. My heart was full of unspeakable sorrow. As I drove onto the Fremont Bridge high above Portland, on my way back home to tell his dad and his brother and sisters the sad news, I remember—of all things-- the music on the radio. The familiar melodies filled my car--tunes I'd heard many times throughout my life--but that day I heard in them the magnificent inspirations they were created to be. No music had ever sounded so beautiful.
Don't ask me why, but in the face of one of the greatest sorrows of my life, for just a few moments, I felt in a most profound way what a precious thing it was to be alive. I've never forgotten what a gift those few moments were.
So, today, though you may be enduring some of the most horrific challenges you've ever faced, I hope that you will take a moment to listen. Listen to what the Lord wants to tell you about life. And love. And of the true meaning of happiness.
Perhaps the conscious choice to hear the word of the Lord during times of trial is why the survivors of the ill-fated handcart companies all claimed that they wouldn't trade their experience for anything; for they came to know their Savior in a manner that would not have been possible otherwise.
Perhaps the same can be true for us.