Each day it seems as we go about are daily, toilsome routines—dropping off the kids at school, driving to the office, grabbing breakfast at the drive-thru, answering emails, texts, phone calls, sitting in business meetings, working out at the gym, walking the dog, watching TV, etc.—we can’t help ask when all the noise stops, in our secret hour, is that all there is?
Singularly pursuing money, pelf, career status, peer acceptance, smarts, fads, art, trends or the spirit of the age is exhausting and over time these pursuits are unfulfilling and not enough and in some sense rot and corrupt who we truly are, leaving us with a bark that has gone astray. As time passes, it doesn’t take long to realize that while the world turns pretty fast, it’s seems to be spinning nowhere when all our pursuits are solely designed to materially gratify our own pleasures and desires.
That is why we oftentimes search out for some purpose larger than ourselves that gives meaning purpose to our personal narratives. There must be some enduring truths out there that we can hang our hat on. The first place we look to find value and give meaning to our thoughts and actions is through our family relationships. It’s interesting to note how important families are in giving meaning and purpose to our lives in that most of us tolerate a large degree of dysfunction to maintain those relationships. I have witnessed first-hand the length parents, children and siblings are willing to go to forgive each other just so they can have a relationship with each other.
Family is for many the first absolute truth we encounter in our lives, there is something enduring about our families, both the ones from which we came and the ones we create, that speaks to our spirits. There is something profound and faintly familiar about these relationships, something worth living for in these relationships. These are our strongest bonds. And it is not by accident, that strong families go a long way in eradicating many social ills and building strong societies. Similarly, rendering the family and those relationships meaningless and without boundary threaten to destroy and rot out the foundation of our communities, making many social problems seem intractable. Families and the bonds that are forged between it’s members pre-date governments and it is not governments that define families and it is the strength of families that determine the quality of our governments. But families are more than just building blocks for mighty world civilizations, maintaining and building these relationships give meaning to not only life, but also gives meaning to death, and hope for an afterlife where these relationships can continue.
There is a reason why the parting from our family members is painful. Joseph F. Smith once stated:
“We would not be human if we did not weep or mourn our losses. We do not like to part from each other. We are creatures of passion, of sympathy, of love….How truly painful, almost beyond comprehension, would it be if we could not ever experience those relationships again?”
We would not be tapping into something divine if we did hope or did not develop faith in the notion that we can continue these family relationships in the afterlife. This is one of the main reasons why the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is the single most important event in the earth’s history, chasing away once and for all the ghosts of despair and dismay. Because of the Resurrection there is light and hope for both the believer and non-believer in this mortal experience.
Without this Light permeating the universe, our mortal experience would be desperate and dark and we’d all be weighed down by a meaningless human condition and would be making a similar observation that Empedocles once made when he wrote: “And I wept and shrieked on beholding the unwonted land where are Murder and Wrath, and other species of Fates, and wasting diseases, and putrefaction and fluxes….”