Thursday, January 30, 2014


by Truman G Madsen
from Four Essays on Love

The way to overcome the fake fires that are omni-present in our culture is neither wet blankets nor cold water. It is to burn with a brighter, richer flame...

Love is Fire. 
That is the great secret. 

It is Fire with a large F. It is Divine Fire. When it is in you it lights you, all of you. And transforms. No self-induced flicker can compare with it.

Such love, over long periods, becomes diamond-like. A real diamond, being pure carbon, burns up in split seconds surrounded by flame. Yet there are other fantastic pressures and refinements that give it luster and sheen until it can cut and endure through almost anything. Love in you is both that destructive and that durable. 

Snow lessons

Well I think I know what Kate has been wishing for every time we blow out candles or see the first star every night- SNOW. If you haven't heard yet what's going on in the south, we went from a pretty warm Monday to rare snow in the middle of Tuesday. At first it was a light flurry but it picked up and gave Kate a couple inches to play in. Zach works ten minutes away and it took him two hours to get home for all the traffic he was in. 

At first I chuckled that two inches of snow was such a big deal but all humor was gone as the night went on. The freeway was a gridlock on ice- with many of our friends stuck in it. It was full of huge multi-car accidents, semis Jack-knifed everywhere, stranded cars, kids stuck in schools because their parents couldn't get to them, people with no food and running out of gas, abandoning their cars to walk home in the snow because they hadn't moved in 7 hours. One woman gave birth in her car assisted by her husband and a police officer because they were stuck in the gridlock and couldn't make it to the hospital. As far as I've heard they are both okay. After my experience almost giving birth to Jack in our parking lot three weeks ago in 15 degree weather that woman's experience is what wrenches my heart most of all. This whole experience has gotten me thinking A LOT about being prepared. Some real lucky things happened that kept us safe from this storm but we easily could have been one of the thousands right outside our house preparing to spend the night on the freeway. 

There were a combination of factors I've heard that have contributed to the disaster this whole mess is. Many of them seem to have direct spiritual parallels.

First- no one expected- and few prepared for- a winter wonderland Tuesday when it was sunny Monday. Lesson: it's far easier to prepare for storms when it's sunny- and much harder when the storm has already hit. You never know what tomorrow could bring.

All was business as usual dropping kids off at school/daycare and going to work. When snow dropped and schools called to say they were sending kids home, everyone in Metro Atlanta jumped in their cars to go get their kids or go home, creating a gridlock. When more snow fell, what few plows the cities had couldn't do their work bc the roads were full. So the road conditions worsened around all those drivers. I have no criticism for how the situations were all handled because I'm sure everyone was doing their best in an unexpected situation. Very crazy to see that where we came from in Utah can have a foot of snow dumped and because they're accustomed to snow, they are prepared for living safely in it, while when it hits a state so unexpectedly, even two inches can be devastating. 

Second: Many unaccustomed to driving on slick roads got in accidents from simple maneuvers that would have been easily accomplished on a dry road. Lesson: The Lord gives us gradually increasing trails (tough experiences on dry roads) to practice for the harder ones to come (tough experiences on icy roads). It's easy to keep your footing when you're in control- like a driver on a dry road- but much more difficult to keep your faith when you feel like your sliding all over and out of control. Another lesson from this could be to keep up devotional practices like reading scripture and praying when things are going great so that you have the strength you need when things are hard. 

Third- just because it stops snowing does not mean the hard part is over. The aftermath of trials needs just as much faith and attention as the initial trial itself. The snow stopped late Tuesday night but there is still so much to be done to get back to normal functioning Atlanta life. Some kids are just being reunited with their parents after spending the night at school. The roads are an icy mess. There are hundreds of abandoned cars in every parking lot and on every road. Tow trucks are working like crazy to clear the freeway so they can make driving safe. People have to deal with repairing their cars from all those accidents. To date over 1000 flights out of Atlanta were cancelled. The backlash goes on and on. Point being- when you have a hard trial- you need to give yourself time afterwards to recover from it. Extra spiritual attention, taking life a little slower, and not expecting life to go on as if nothing happened. Taking time to learn the lessons from trials gives the trials value. 

If we don't spend time thinking about life and what we are learning from it, the trials are for little good and will most likely have to be repeated.