Relying on Christ's Atonement

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(This is an excerpt from the chapter "Face the Son by Relying on Christ's Atonement" in the book Facing the Son.)

Our plane was to leave at seven o’clock in the morning, so my friend Hilary Weeks and I planned on leaving our homes in Lehi at five in order to be at the Salt Lake City airport by six. We were to participate in a Time Out for Women event in Pittsburgh, and I worked hard to ensure that I hadn’t forgotten anything. I was all ready and packed when Hilary and her husband, Tim, came to pick me up. Tim dropped us off at the airport, and everything went smoothly until we checked in.

Hilary said casually, “Kris, have you done something different to your eye?” Kind of like someone might say, “Have you lost weight?” or, “Have you changed your hair? Because you look different.” I reached up to touch my eye prosthesis. To my horror, I had no eyeball.

Now, the prosthesis I wear on my right side is made from silicone, and it adheres to the skin covering my eye socket. Because of the way my eye had to be removed when I had cancer, I was unable to wear a normal artificial eye. With this ocular prosthesis, the eyeball can be inserted and removed from the silicone and can be transferred to my alternate when necessary. I had grabbed the wrong prosthesis—the one that didn’t have the vitally important eyeball inside.

I burst out laughing. What was I going to do? I couldn’t travel across the country and speak to thousands of women in Pittsburgh with no eyeball! I mean, there is a limit to using visual aids. Luckily I had remembered my thinking cap, and so I suggested a plan.

Hilary called her husband, Tim, and said, “Uh, honey, Kris forgot her eyeball. Can you go get it?” I was laughing loudly in the background, and Hilary started busting up as well.

I phoned my husband, James, woke him up, and—between spurts of laughter—asked him to grab my eye and meet Tim halfway. They would make the handoff and Tim would race it back to us at the airport—hopefully before our plane left.

Next, Hilary and I made our way to the security area, and Hilary tried to explain to the security worker that she would need to come back through after taking me to the gate. “Um, my friend is blind and has forgotten her eye at home. I have to meet my husband out front to get it. Will I be able to get back through quickly, or will I have to go back through the whole security check?”

I tried to do my part by looking blind. I didn’t need to do much. After all, I had a fake-looking plastic thing with a gaping socket glued to my face. I’m sure the security guard thought he had now seen everything. He wasn’t moved, and he explained very solemnly what Hilary would need to do. We were then off to the gate.

I wasn’t going to suffer through another embarrassing explanation, so I sat with some of the other Time Out for Women speakers who had already arrived while Hilary spoke with the gate agent. She went through the whole “My friend is blind and left her eyeball at home” story. Hilary asked them to please hold the plane for her, and then she began her part of the last leg of the eyeball relay.

Soon, our flight was called, and my friend Mary Ellen and I tried to carry our luggage and Hilary’s to the gate, where we ran into a slight problem.

“Excuse me,” the airline worker said. “You may not take that many bags on board.”

Then, from across the way, the agent Hilary had spoken with called out, “It’s all right. She’s the one without the eyeball.”

Once seated on the plane, I tried to pull myself together. I tried not to worry, but I imagined James and Tim passing each other going opposite ways on the freeway, throwing the prosthesis across the median like a football. (Little did I know that James hadn’t bothered to put the eye in a bag or anything. He just plopped it into Tim’s hand and said, “It’s sturdy!” Poor Tim.)

I prayed that, wherever they met, the handoff would be made in time for Hilary to catch the plane, and eventually she arrived. Thank heavens the eyeball relay was successful and over!

I had tried my best to make sure I was completely ready for this trip, yet problems still occurred. Isn’t that the way life goes? We work our hardest, but our efforts aren’t always enough. On this particular occasion, I could laugh about my predicament; however, there have been times when it has saddened and discouraged me that my best wasn’t good enough.

I really believe that this is an important part of mortal life’s design. When we come to the realization that we can’t do everything perfectly on our own—and that we aren’t meant to—we can choose to remain frustrated, or we can humble ourselves before our Father. Our humility brings us light and power through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. We may not have enough strength, but He does. We may not be able to handle all things, but He can and did. We may not be enough, but He is. Christ makes our efforts, our abilities, and even ourselves, enough.

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