My family and I are in Salt Lake City right now, visiting relatives. We had a chance to hang out in Temple Square this afternoon. It was absolutely perfect–70 degrees, gentle wind, sun shining, flowers in full bloom. My two-year-old daughter loved the reflecting pool, and squealed with delight when my husband gave her six or seven pennies to toss into the glassy water. I watched her somewhat enviously. To her, the world is as clear as the reflection in that pool: she knows what love is and she knows that she has it–and she doesn’t worry much about the rest.
Something about growing up clouds the vision somehow.
As we made our way around the grounds, we stopped at the visitors centers and took in the exhibits. One stop stood out in my mind as particularly descriptive of my last six months of searching, as though it could all be wrapped up in this single experience. It was a presentation on the promise of eternal families–a message that has historically brought me peace. But today, it was difficult to know how to feel or what to think.
You see, in the past, I’ve judged truth based on a feeling of rightness, or comfort. Recently, I’ve begun to question that approach: it seems so arbitrary. I’m comforted by a steaming mug of hot cocoa, or the sight of an empty stage just waiting to be filled with stories and sets, or a long drive into the mountains–but that doesn’t mean there is some vast cosmic truth to grasp from the experience–just that it’s something I’ve been conditioned to love.
Well, today when the lights went down in that eternal families exhibit and the video presentation started playing, I felt drawn in. The message was so familiar, so ingrained. The easiest thing would have been to relax into the gentle sense of comfort that overtook me as I watched it…to shut my mind to the noise and the questions and surrender–wholely and purely–to the patterns of thought and faith I’ve developed since childhood.
To close my eyes to all the problems and just believe.
But I can’t do that anymore.
I left behind my surety months ago, and now I doubt I’ll ever find it again–not without rejecting the discoveries I’ve made along the way:
Not all answers are easy…not all pain is explainable…and not all stories have happily-ever-afters, or even satisfactory reasons why.
There is something about that sense of comfort, that warm feeling I once relied on to tell me I was doing okay, that I don’t trust anymore. It’s too fast, too convenient, too cheap, when there are layers of depth and complexity you have to close yourself off from in order to stay wrapped up in it.
They say the Spirit of God is like a comforter, and I suppose it must be if they say so…but I don’t know what that means. Because whatever the Spirit of God feels like, it certainly can’t be this.