This afternoon we were in Bountiful for my sister-in-laws birthday lunch. Sweet little Parker wanted to play with his cousin who told him he didn't want to play with him, but wanted to play with a different cousin. On our way home in the car, Parker was so, so sad. And couldn't understand why he didn't want to play with him. My heart literally hurt for him. I continually glanced back in the rear view mirror and the look on his little face broke my heart. I reassured him that I was sure this cousin still liked him although Parker didn't think he did. As we talked I thought to myself - I know how you are feeling - I have been there.
In that moment, I was glad for the times in my life that I too had felt lonely and left out. Because of these times I was able to understand just what it was that Parker was feeling and I was able to hurt with him. I was able to have compassion, and hopefully help ease his sadness a little by my words and mere explanation that I knew what he was going through. He was not alone, because I too had felt what he had felt.
As we drove on, and he fell asleep, I continued to think of this and the obvious connection it had to the atonement. In those brief moments today I was able to feel a very small portion of the compassion that the Savior has for us. He too has felt alone and lonely. He not only paid the price for our sins, but he felt all of these sad emotions that we too often feel in this world. I understood in that moment, with greater clarity than I ever had, why it was that Christ was so willing to do this sacred thing for us. Why it was, with all of His understanding, that he willingly felt so much pain on our behalf. He knew the outcome.
If years ago, and even recently, I had known that those sad lonely moments would lead me to the compassion I was able to feel for my sweet son, and for the reality that it made the atonement in my life today, I then would have been more than willing and even happy to suffer the way I did then. And hopefully through the sadness I went through, I was able to help Parker a little more today.
The atonement is real. He has felt what we feel in the deepest of times, the saddest of times and in our everyday encounters. If we can only let Him heal us as we place our burdens and trials at his feet; because he too has been there, more than we will ever comprehend; is my hope and prayer for us all.