My kids squealed as I proceeded to blindfold them after we finished our morning prayers. With their eyes securely covered, I asked them to put away 20 items on the floor, one at a time. Even my oldest son eagerly complied. At first they tried walking but after a few bumps, one by one, they all ended up crawling to do their task. Not only did they crawl, they seemed to move in slow motion. This simple task of picking up 20 items became difficult to do while blind. To prolong the experiment, I asked them to make their way to the basement and sing a song to some friends who are temporarily staying there.
There were lots of giggles, and while everyone was quick to show off their new-found blindness, the act of singing, something my kids do all the time, suddenly seemed foolish and everyone was embarrassed Taking cues from their older siblings, even the youngest kids were barely able to make it through the song.
Back upstairs, we discussed the experience. We talked about why it was important to recognize blessings that come from the Atonement we enjoy. We compared being blindfolded to being in the mist of darkness.
I showed them a picture of the ‘mist of darkness’ that I painted for this devotional. In the mist of darkness, it is hard to see the “love of God” and have a hope to obtain “eternal life”. We may know where we are in the mist of darkness, but we do not know where we came from, how far we have gone, where we are going or far it is to our destination.
Going through life without recognizing the blessings that come from the Atonement is like walking through life blind, or being in that mist of darkness. We bump into thing and feel hurt. Even if we don’t know why we hurt, we still feel it. We feel more isolated, and aren’t nearly as effective as the times when we are actively seeking to recognize and appreciate the hand of the Lord in our lives. Without an understanding of why we are here on earth and what the Savior did for us, ordinary things that normally would uplift us, like singing, can cause us to feel foolish and embarrassed. We want to give up.
A few things to help us get through the ‘mists of darkness’ that all of us sometimes feel , are:
c) Learn now to love the scriptures and determine to never let go of the ‘iron rod’ which is the ‘word of God’ no matter how frustrated, tired, confused or empty you feel. The words of God have a power to protect and heal you like nothing in this world. One apostle stated that he had never known someone to leave the church who was actively reading the scriptures with a pure heart.
d) Recognize the hand of the Lord in our lives and record those thoughts and feelings. The mere act of writing down a spiritual experience or blessings we have received in our lives, helps us to remember them more. The more we remember, the closer we become to our Savior. Our testimonies are deepen and conversion happens.
In times of darkness and depression, sometimes rereading those experiences can bring back some of the same feelings, dispelling the mist and allowing the Tree of Life to once more be visible. Each of our lives are full of blessings, too numerous to count. To illustrate my point I got my kids to look closely at the picture of the Tree of Life that i painted. Woven into the leaves and trunk my kids were surprised to see hundreds of tiny words that represented some of the blessing we enjoy. Words like “sister, face-painting, horseback riding, cubs. . .” were all over the picture. Just like they were easy to spot once my kids started looking, so are our blessings easy to spot once we take the time to look.
After devotional we got our our ‘Easter Gratitude Journals” from last year. Everyone laughed to see what they wrote (or didn’t write) and each were challenged to write at least three blessings each day. Truly it was a day of thanksgiving.