Casual Gratitude

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“Casual Gratitude,” Ensign, Sept. 2008, 54

Casual Gratitude

As my grandson screamed from a serious burn, I wanted to suffer in his place.

The morning to return home had arrived. My children, grandchildren, and I had been on vacation to a family reunion and were getting ready to leave. As I was preparing myself for the day, I decided I wanted to curl my hair, so I called my daughter’s motel room and asked if I could borrow her curling iron. She said she had just finished using it and it was still hot, so she’d bring it right over.

I looked out the motel room window and saw her coming with the curling iron in one hand and my five-month-old grandson, Tyler, in the opposite arm. Just as they came to the door, the baby grabbed the hot iron. I tore open the door as he screamed in pain. Immediately, blisters raised on his tender skin. We ran his tiny hand under cold water and filled a wet rag with ice to apply to the burn. My son ran to a nearby drugstore to see if there was anything we could get to relieve the pain. Nothing.

My mind raced. There had to be something I could do. I felt I needed to find a quiet place to pray. I went into the bathroom, closed and locked the door, and knelt beside the bathtub. I thanked Heavenly Father for the knowledge that I could come to Him at any time, plead my case, and receive an answer. I told Him about the accident involving my grandson and the hot curling iron. I spoke to Him, choking on tears, of the pain of this small child. I did not understand why it was necessary for the baby to suffer. He was only five months old. If it was necessary for someone to suffer, I would do it. I asked Him to pass the pain to me, and I would bear it for the baby.

Immediately, I felt calm. A still, sweet voice came into my mind: “I have already done that. There is no need.” Instantly, I understood. The lesson was for me to learn, not the baby.

I opened the door to the bathroom and looked at my grandson. He ceased crying in that instant and, in fact, never cried once all the way home. My daughter looked at me and said, “What did you do?” I told her I had done nothing. The Lord had done it all.

Tyler bears no scars on his hand, but the Master does. And each time I see a painting or a statue of the Master’s hands, I am brought to tears. I will never look upon the Atonement with such casual gratitude again. Those scars are there for me, my grandson, and for you.

Illustration by Dilleen Marsh