Last night I had a dream.
I was in "The Walking Dead". Not in the actual show, but rather living it in real life. It was a post-apocalyptic world and my family was on the run from both Walkers and Survivors. It was terrible and thrilling all at once. I remember having bloody clothes and the washing machines were being used and I was really bugged by it. My bra was soaked red with blood (who's blood, I'm not sure and that's scary) and I was holding my laundry and really upset because I couldn't walk around braless...or could I? Last night in real life, I had to make a late run to the grocery store and I walked into the garage wearing my sweat pants, tee shirt, and no bra. I was holding my purse and ready to get into the car when I realized how inappropriate it would be to go in public braless. But then I thought how amazing it would be if it WAS appropriate. I hope that in the post-apocalyptic world, all women will be braless. After all, there have to be some perks to living like a homeless person. AmIright??
Somehow that dream morphed into something far more poignant and it's had me thinking all morning about what it meant and if it's in line with my true feelings. You see, when you lose a child, one of your biggest fears is how it will all be made right in the Hereafter and how your family will be whole again. I want and need Garrett back as a three year old. I need him to snuggle in my lap while I read to him and I want to make him mac 'n cheese, the gross kind from the blue box. I need to teach him to ride a bike and kiss his boo boos and push him on the swings at the park while he tells me to push him higher. I need all of the things that I've been cheated of, as do my children and as does my husband. All of us have been robbed of a life; not just Garrett's life, but the lives we should each be living with him here.
In the next life, will we pick up where we left off? Will we be transported back to July 11, 2014 and get a re-do? Will all of my children be young again and will Cody and I be young parents? I can't imagine it working that way and it breaks my heart as I try to come up with a solution. In what scenario will I be satisfied? Is it even possible to EVER be satisfied, given what I've lost and been cheated of?
So in my dream we went from running from zombies and worrying about bloody bras, to being in California in an earthquake. I was with my parents, my children, my older sister and my oldest brother. We were sitting around a table in some sort of apartment building and the world was shaking around us. And then I started talking about this cosmic pull that connects us to each other; the energy that flows between people when they love one another. What is it that makes me love my children? Just because they came out of me does not mean I have to love them. But I do, and why? Why do I love anyone? Why do I love my brothers and sisters and parents so fiercely? What is it that would make me lay down my life for any one of them? What makes me love my husband like I do? I was saying all of this as we sat around this rickety table as the world was crumbling around us, and it was as if the words were coming through me but were not my own.
And then suddenly, I knew. I knew that this force between us is so strong, so connective, that nothing in the universe and the infinite space that is time can ever break it. This energy is called LOVE and it is the greatest power ever created. It is so strong and when our mortal bodies give out and die, this power lives on and it is strong enough to create worlds upon worlds. Nothing else will matter when I see my son again; his age, the age of my other children, whether or not they have families of their own...all of it will be of no consequence because the power that connects us, the love between us, will be strong enough to make anything possible. My greatest desires and wishes and all that is owed to me will be manifest.
And maybe that's what the Atonement of Christ is really about. I spend a lot of time thinking that it's too good to be true and that it's more of a bedtime story that has been passed down for thousands of years. Is it myth and magic or is it fact? Does Christ's sacrifice hold the power to really secure my future with my family and give me every desire of my heart? Is it strong enough to really make this hurt go away someday? How does it work?
Love. Such a simple word, such a simple notion, yet powerful enough to mend every broken thing. Christ exuded love from every poor and every faculty as he suffered for us. I don't understand even the tip of the iceberg, but today I woke up believing that in His suffering lies the key to my eternal happiness and that just maybe, love is all that will matter in the next life. And right now, it's enough to get me through another twenty-four hours.