Each year, the significance of Easter increases as my love for my family increases. Christ’s gift of his own life makes it possible for all to be resurrected and live with their families forever. More importantly, as Brad Wilcox said in his book, Changed through His Grace, “perhaps the greatest gift is not only that families can [be together forever], but that they can be healed so they want to be together forever.”
Last night, the night before Easter, I was reminded of this greatest gift in an unexpected way as I lay awake in bed for several hours, unable to sleep. Earlier that evening, I had watched the movie Onward for the first time. The main characters are two teenage brothers whose father passed away before the youngest brother was born, and there were many touching moments as the brothers risked everything in the hopes of finding the magic spell that would allow them to see their father one more time.
My husband and I have a young son, and we’ll likely have a second child before too long, so watching Onward was particularly poignant for me because it filled my mind with questions about what would happen if my husband passed away before our second child was born: How would that affect our children psychologically? How would I ever be able to love again? If I ever did remarry, how would that affect family relationships, both in this life and the eternities?
Normally I wouldn’t waste my energies fretting over questions that don’t apply to me right now, yet these questions intrigued me by the fact that they had no answers.
What came to mind was President Oaks’s talk, “Trust in the Lord,” from the October 2019 General Conference. President Oaks related the counsel given to a family who expressed similar concerns about their father getting remarried. Essentially, this family was told they were “worried about the wrong things” and not asking the right questions.
“So what questions should I be asking?” I wondered. At length I decided that the following questions were the only ones that mattered:
How can I better appreciate and cherish every moment with my loved ones?
How can I increase my love and grow in my ability to express that love?
Thankfully, the gospel of Jesus Christ provides simple answers, because coming unto Christ is the best way to increase in love.
After watching Onward, another October 2019 Conference talk I thought about was Elder Uchtdorf’s talk, “Your Great Adventure,” in which he compared our life on earth to a great adventure like that in a fantasy novel. After all, if those two brothers in Onward could risk so much on a grand adventure to see their dad for just one day, how much greater should my adventure be in order to see my loved ones for eternity?
The message of Onward is a powerful reminder of my own journey, except my journey is one that lasts forever. As expressed in the chorus of a notable hymn,
Onward, ever onward, as we glory in His name.