Sunday, November 23, 2008

Plane trip

I recently took a plane trip and had an interesting conversation with the person that sat next to me. He was a prestigious medical doctor and had plenty of money. I asked about a book he was reading that looked like it was about Buddhism. It was actually a sort of new age spiritualism book. He begin telling me all about it and about these other powers out there and the things others could do with these powers. “This conversation is not going where I want it to go” I thought. I wanted to end it and go back to reading my book. But then I thought maybe he sat down by me for a reason.

I explained as plainly and forcefully as I could that there are always two sides to such power and that he needs to be careful not to follow the wrong side. The bad side will seek to deceive and bring destruction. The good side will never deceive and cannot be used for evil. He said but they say there is no good or bad. Let’s see, where have I heard that one before.

22 And behold, others he flattereth away, and telleth them there is no hell; and he saith unto them: I am no devil, for there is none—and thus he whispereth in their ears, until he grasps them with his awful chains, from whence there is no deliverance.

(Book of Mormon 2 Nephi 28:22)

I took some time but I finally convinced him that there was good and evil in this world and on the other side. I told him I had experienced both sides and wanted nothing more of the evil side, ever. The good side brings peace and happiness. What ever you put into life you get back out. I then gave him a copy of the most spiritually powerful book I know of “The Book of Mormon”. He promised to read it. If he does it can push evil away and bring goodness into his life.

I changed the conversation to his family; he was married with two little girls. I told him that families are the most important and that is where true happiness comes from. He told me he was currently separated from his wife. I asked if there was a chance for them to get back to gather. He said that he got to angry every time he was around her. I’m thinking “I’m not a psychologist” but kept talking to him, I was on a plane with little else to do.

He said that she was clueless of his needs and neglected the children. She would leave the children home alone sleeping in the crib for hours. He explained to her that it was illegal and she couldn’t do that but she did it any way. I asked if she loved the kids. He had asked her that and she said “They will take care of me when I get old”. I’m thinking what a totally selfish person and the children need protected. But realized I was only hearing his side of the story.

He wasn’t interested in divorcing her and taking custody of the kids. I agreed that what the kids need was a normal function mother. I suggested that he get her some counseling. He had tried. I asked if she was abused as a child. He was shocked at the idea and said “no”. I said “but she disassociates from emotional things”, he agreed and in thinking more about it gave several indications of childhood abuse, and agreed that maybe she had been.

I suggested that he change the way he looked at her and try to better understand her. That getting angry was not going to change her or solve any problems, that he needed to learn to control that anger. She needs help and he should find ways to get her that help. The kids are the most important and that their mother, functional, is the best thing for them.

I may never know if the conversation did him any good or made a difference in his life. But it made me grateful for the wife and family I have, and for the principle of the gospel that has guided me to the life that I have. I have what prestige and money cannot buy.