By Aric M.
During the first year of my time as a Mormon missionary I received an email from home telling me that a friend of mine from church had been seriously injured in an accident. At the time I really didn’t know how serious the accident was. All I knew was that my friend was away at Indiana University and she fell from a balcony and was seriously injured. A few days later I got a letter from my parents telling me what happened; how she had fallen and died on the scene of the accident.
I’ve grown up with the knowledge of what happens after death and why we are here on the Earth. Since my family joined our church, I was taught what God’s plan is for us; how life continues after death, and dying is just a stepping stone. Despite this knowledge, I felt as if I were cut in my heart, at the loss of my friend. It has already been about 4 years since I saw her last but I can still remember how brightly she smiled and how she was one of the most cheerful and happy people I had ever known. So when I heard she was dead, I didn’t know what to think. I couldn’t even begin imagining the fact that she was not here anymore.
For a while it was quite hard, especially because of the circumstances of her accident. I knew that she probably wasn’t at a very good place in her life or doing things she should be doing. From what I was told, she was at a party in some student housing on campus. She and a boy were on a balcony on the second or third floor, and they both fell from the balcony. So for me it was that much harder to think that not only was she gone, but she may not have been in a good environment or doing what God would have wanted for her to do, and therefore she may not be very well off now that she was dead.
With all this going on, it was hard because I was serving as a missionary and trying to help other people find peace and joy in their lives, but I wasn’t feeling that myself. However, there was one day that I was praying and thinking about everything and I just felt at peace about what happened. The thought came to me about life after death, about how when we die we don’t go to just heaven or hell, but rather, we go to place to wait until judgment. During that time, we can repent and change and learn and grow. It’s certainly harder but it’s still possible.
My friend was a really kind person who knew what was right, and no matter what was going on in her life then, or whatever guilt or sorrow she felt now, I knew Christ’s atonement would enable her to have joy and peace in the life hereafter. I also remembered that those feelings are for everyone to experience. I didn’t need to be sad for the loss of my friend, because Christ’s atonement makes up for all the loss, pain, grief, guilt, sorrow, and really anything bad that we feel in life. All we have to do is turn our hearts to him and he can heal our soul.
That day I felt that healing power that Jesus Christ brings. I have often reflected on that experience and even felt it from time to time since then. I can say for certain that anyone who has ever felt guilt, sorrow, grief, loneliness, or any such thing can be healed by Christ’s sacrifice. His sacrifice wasn’t just for sin, but for everything that could keep us from being perfectly happy.