Late Sunday afternoon Pete and I found a babysitter and drove 45 minutes to a nearby town to attend a baptism. As we drove west along the highway the low sun was so bright through the windshield I had to close my eyes for a minute.
I thought back to almost two years ago at a 12 step meeting when my friend, whose demeanor is quiet and dignified, wept about her husband being excommunicated from our church due to the grievous nature of his sins. She lifted her head for a minute to look us all in the eye.
"But I think it's going to be a good thing."
It was about a year after that when I met her husband for the first time. He sang at a speaker's meeting for addiction recovery. He had an amazing voice, and like so many of the men in our lives, when I talked with him I could hardly believe he was the same man who had made those painful mistakes. Addiction makes soft men hard. It makes kind men cruel. It makes reasonable men stupid. It makes humble men proud.
The baptism was a spiritual experience I can't adequately give words to here. But I just want to testify, with my little voice here on the internet that recovery works.
Recovery makes hard men soft. It makes cruel men kind. It makes stupid men reasonable. And it makes proud men humble.
I'm sure my friend would say that the anguish was severe, the journey long, and the forgiveness slow but sweet. None of us asked for this. None of us thought this was the life we were choosing when we made our vows.
But here we are. And as Pete and I drove home under the full fall moon, I felt my heart overflowing with gratitude. I witnessed the atonement of Jesus Christ firsthand. I saw redemption in a man and woman I love like family. I wouldn't go back if I could. And I really mean that. I wouldn't trade these treasures, these experiences, this taste of charity, these relationships for a different life. I can genuinely say that in spite of everything I love the life I have.
"When men know why they suffer, and realize that it is for a good and wise purpose, they can bear it much better than they can in ignorance...There is always a blessing in sorrow. They who escape these things are not the fortunate ones."
~Orson F. Whitney