I love a good Jewish book. And I’m especially fond of Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen’s beautiful work, My Grandfather’s Blessings. Even though Dr. Remen is not-LDS, she shows an awareness and fondness for one of the Exodus stories in the Book of Mormon. And in her assessment, she offers a profound observation. This posts goes out to my brothers and sisters in pain over recent events. Let us not forget the objective—the Promised Land, and let us not be afraid to use adversity as a chance to spread our wings and catch the wind:
“In the Book of Mormon, there is another version of the Exodus story. In it, the Jaredites, forced from their homes by conditions that stifle their freedom, set out across great uncharted waters to reach the land of promise in boats sealed up tightly against the sea. Jared speaks to God about the difficulty in steering these boats in total darkness. He is told that if he brings stones with him, God will touch them and they will shine forth light.
“The voyage is long and difficult in the extreme; there are mighty storms, and the boats are plunged deep beneath the water over and over again. But their seal holds, and the stones, touched by God, continue to shine. According to Jung, the stone is one of the two archetypal symbols for the soul. The image of a people sailing through heavy seas in search of freedom, steering only by the light that the touch of God kindles in their souls, is a particularly beautiful one for me…
“In the course of any lifetime there are times when one has to sail into the unknown without map or compass. These can be times of despair and terror; they can also be times of discovery. Having accompanied many people as they deal with the unknown, I find that the most moving part of the Mormon exodus story is a single line. Despite the challenges and great difficulties of this sea journey, ‘the wind always blows in the direction of the promised land.” I have seen many people spread their sails and catch this wind.” Rachel Naomi Remen, My Grandfather’s Blessings: Stories of Strength, Refuge, and Belonging, 375-76.