Thursday, April 12, 2007

My Grandfather's Blessings...

I had the blessing of hearing Rachel Naomi Remen speak at my brother-in-law's white coat ceremony as he graduated medical school and took an oath to become a healer. Her message was so beautiful I was thrilled to hear that she had written a book and I would be able to recapture some of the beauty of her words and message. That book was Kitchen Table Wisdom. It is a wonderful book. If you haven't, read it. I love this book, My Grandfather's Blessings, so much as well. In the epilogue, she visits the story of the Brother of Jared, my personal favorite Book of Mormon story. Just a little background for those of you who don't know the story. The Brother of Jared is commanded by the Lord to build some boats and take his people to a new land across many great waters. As I read the description of the boats, I always imagine that they look sort of like flying saucers; they are discs that have no windows. They have a hole in the top for air, that is all. They are without light. Knowing how terrifying it would be for his people, he does not want them to cross these waters without the comfort of light. I am leaving so much out, but eventually the Brother of Jared goes to the Lord and asks him to touch the stones that he places before him. The Lord touches the stones and they shine brightly. These shining stones will give the people not a view of where they are going, not a map, or a compass, but light. He gives them light enough to know they are loved and the assurance that they travel in his care.
Rachel Remen says this, "In the course of any lifetime there are times when one has to sail into the unknown without map or compass. These can be times of despair and terror; they can also be times of discovery. Having accompanied many people as they deal with the unknown, I find that the most moving part of the Mormon exodus story is a single line. Despite the challenges and great difficulties of this sea journey, 'the wind always blows in the direction of the promised land.' I have seen many people spread their sails and catch this wind. There is a grace in life that can be trusted. In our struggle toward freedom we are neither abandoned nor alone."