I have an incredible family full of amazing and loving people who have influenced me in my life more than I can describe. Although they are all fantastic people, none of my siblings are still actively attending the LDS church, and this is for diverse and differing reasons. This has been a reality that has been difficult for my parents to interpret, particularly my father. My father has talked to me on multiple occasions expressing a feeling of failure. He has told me that he feels as if they tried their best in raising us, but that the fact that most of his children have left the path they set out for them feels to him as if it is his own fault. I have tried to express to him that I feel he is not only blameless, but that perhaps Gods vision for his children is greater than he can imagine, and maybe all of our choices are simply steps on Gods path of getting us to where we need to be, but these feelings of guilt that be heavy and hard to abandon.
Because these types of feelings are often so prevalent, I think it is important for us to remember teachings like Neil L. Anderson’s when he said “Not all the whirlwinds in life are of your own making. Some come because of the wrong choices of others, and some come just because this is mortality.” In the talk that followed Elder Anderson’s, Henry B. Eyring taught a message that also applies.
He taught that “The Lord has given us all the source of hope as we struggle to help those we love accept their eternal inheritance. He has made promises to us as we keep trying to gather people to Him, even when they resist His invitation to do so. Their resistance saddens Him, but He does not quit, nor should we. He sets the perfect example for us with His persistent love: “And again, how oft would I have gathered you as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, yea, O ye people of the house of Israel, who have fallen; yea, O ye people of the house of Israel, ye that dwell at Jerusalem, as ye that have fallen; yea, how oft would I have gathered you as a hen gathereth her chickens, and ye would not.”
We live in a complex world, where things often occur in ways that strongly go beyond our expectations, but it is my hope that when we are faced with things we struggle with to understand, that instead of first going to blame ourselves for our problems, we can move forward with faith and hope.