Every Star is Different

Today is a day of contrasts. It is a day of losses remembered, and gains unspeakably cherished. It is an anniversary, of such, emotionally enhanced by the simple fact that it is the nineteenth anniversary.

Nineteen years ago today, in fact just a few hours ago to be exact, my wife and I sat with a nurse at Thunderbird Hospital, when we learned that rather than raising our third son, we would be burying him. Brother Brigham, or Briggs as we would call him, touched this world as with an angel's kiss.

As with the seasons, 1999 became a season of introspection and change for us. Not only were we discovering the heartache we were being called to pass through with the death of Briggs, but we were also discovering that Ethan, our second son, was to be our Forever Child. So, with heavy hearts we returned one angel to Heaven, as another angel was consigned our constant companion here on earth.

Ethan, most likely, would never receive a call to serve, we believed, let alone, be given an assignment to labor. And, today, we would have been either anticipating Briggs' call to serve arriving in the mail at any moment, or, with the change in age requirements for missionaries, we would have been enjoying a letter home from wherever the Lord would have assigned him to labor in the world.

How wrong we were. We believed we knew the outcome beforehand; we anticipated and perceived the lessons to be learned through these difficulties. Oh, how wrong we were.

Though we still have our angel in heaven - memorialized today - we now have another angel called to serve and assigned to labor - but you already know that. But though he has only been called to serve, and assigned to labor for a few weeks, we are humbled by his growth, the things he is learning from interacting with people other than us (mom and dad). Most especially we are humbled by the influence he is having on those around him as he serves in his own special way.

As I pondered over the past few weeks, and measured them against today, I was gently reminded of this thought:
Obviously, we can only break outside our present conceptual and experiential constraints on the basis of deeper understanding that is gained by the Spirit. If we think only in the usual ways, we will not understand the unusual experiences through which we must sometimes pass. But if we can trust God and know that He is there and that He loves us, then we can cope well and endure well... 
There are some things allotted to us in life that have been divinely fashioned according to our ability and our capacity. When we see individuals coping with what seems to be a tragedy and making of it an opportunity, then we begin to partake of the deep wisdom in the Savior's response concerning the blind man.
"Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?" "Neither," said the Savior, reassuringly, "but that the works of God should be made manifest in him" (John 9:2-3) - Neil Maxwell
Notice the key word "him." It's not "us," or "them," just him, and he's doing a great job!

Ev’ry star is diff’rent,
And so is ev’ry child.
Some are bright and happy,
And some are meek and mild.
Ev’ry one is needed
For just what he can do.
You’re the only person
Who ever can be you.

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