Opinion: Finding Meaning

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Silver Linings of a Difficult Year

Children sleep blissfully through the night. Parents not always, depending on their troubles. For the older among us, it’s routine to be up at night. Being awake isn’t all bad—it has its blessings. Last week a full moon setting on the ocean revealed a glistening path to the sea. It was a magical moment, one of the nice things about living in Laguna. Life is like that. Adversity, found even here in paradise, bears its silver linings.

We haven’t been in a church since early March but last weekend we watched a broadcast of the General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Mormons. It’s a twice-a-year tradition, done in five sessions totaling 10 hours, broadcast globally in 93 languages. In this conference, church leaders gave their most inspired guidance for the months ahead. Here are three messages a person of faith might find useful.

First, though adversity can be humbling, there’s a silver lining: humility enables us to see more deeply and learn more dearly. As a conference speaker noted, “Grace comes by waiting on the Lord, even through suffering.” No one seeks adversity, but when you look back on the most difficult times of your own life you’ll likely find valued lessons learned. Isn’t there a saying that we value our lessons by how much we paid for them?

Second, like the pruning of roses, adversity will help the patient to grow and progress. Whether actively religious or simply spiritual, we all have a natural longing to create the best version of ourselves, as guided by our beliefs. Christians by grace seek to become more like Christ. Though it’s hard and demands our best faith, is there anything so satisfying as personal growth towards our ideal? It’s the best work of our lives.

Third, as we distance ourselves from others in public, many are moving closer to God in private. As the noisy world recedes, the still, small voice that guides us becomes more audible. The speakers called for greater prayer as the means to approach the one we worship. We should pray for increased love for others, for unity, and greater wisdom for our country’s leaders. I’ve noticed that my end-of-day meditation has increased. I listen to spiritual music, read and write, and I’m praying more. It’s becoming my favorite part of the day.

I’ve dearly missed being in Laguna’s churches and worshipping with the good people there. I think our world has lost its way a bit without the blessed guidance of church worship. I look forward to returning. But I’ve also enjoyed worshipping in our little home with the Beautiful Wife. There’s a new balance being learned. Though we properly feel at home in Laguna’s churches, our own homes can, and ought to be, a church. Maybe, when we look back one day, that will be one of the silver linings of this difficult year—that our homes can also be our churches. There’s meaning in that.

Skip fell in love with Laguna on a ‘50s surfing trip. He’s a student of Laguna history and the author of “Loving Laguna: A Local’s Guide to Laguna Beach.”  Email:  [email protected]

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