When I was a little girl, I was afraid of my shadow. I discovered it in the backyard one day and was disturbed by how closely it followed me. It bothered me so much in fact, I tried to retaliate. Of course I couldn’t make contact, my shadow moved as I did. My dad caught the violent exchange though and he asked me to apologize to shadow. I gave that shadow a hug and a kiss against the backyard fence.
We’ve gotten along ever since.
The first seminary lesson I ever taught was Acts 1. After Jesus’ resurrection he spent 40 days with his disciples and then ascended into Heaven. The now eleven apostles were really on their own this time. With changed hearts, a young church to lead, and a vacancy in the twelve, they watched their Master ascend into heaven.
As they watched him go, I wonder if they were lonely.
During His mortal life, Jesus healed a blind man on the sabbath. After mixing a little clay with spittle, he put it on the eyes of the man blind since birth and commanded him to wash in the pool of Siloam.
The pool would have been a far trek for the blind man, and from what we see in the scriptures, he made the trek alone. In the ceremonial washing pool outside the city, the man born blind would have seen his reflection for the first time. The scriptures say he “came seeing”. His story is unique because it does not end there. The Pharisees don’t respond well to the miracle. After hearing the man’s budding testimony of the “prophet” who healed his blindness, they cast him out of the synagogue.
I wonder if he was lonely. A man born blind who came seeing was now completely alone.
When Jake was sick nights were hard. I would get him comfortable and asleep and then my head had time to spin. Scary and tired thoughts would fill my mind and I would become quickly overwhelmed with our situation. I was exhausted and sometimes I felt alone.
Motherhood can be lonely too. There is a pressure and desperate need to do the right things for a tiny boy who needs me. It’s hard not to feel like I’m alone in the newness of it all.
When Jesus ascended into Heaven he promised His disciples that he would not leave them comfortless. He wouldn’t leave them alone. He gave them the sacrament, the Holy Ghost, the scriptures, each other, and other reminders of Him. He didn’t ever really leave them.
Two weeks after we got married Jake gave me a Christmas present. It was a painting by J. Kirk Richards called “Ascension”. In it you catch the Savior’s light as he ascends into heaven. The apostles reach for him with their hands and they watch him go with upturned faces. Jake bought it for me so I would remember that I am not alone in my reaching and watching either.
When Jesus heard that the seeing man was cast out of the synagogue, he went and found him. He gave the man his very own witness that Jesus is the Christ and that he was not alone.
In the quiet moments when Jake was so sick, I felt the Savior the closest. Only He knew how it felt to be Jake, and only He knew how it felt to be me. He gave me strength beyond my own when I needed it. It was in those moments He reminded me I wasn’t alone.
A baby boy with eyes like mine snuggled in close to me today. As I studied his little fingers and his sweet face, I was reminded that I am not alone either.
Christ came for the lonely. He has mercy for those who feel left behind. We are not alone. I am not alone. I think that’s why I’m so happy.
My name is Maddie Townsend Topham and I am a happy wife!