I'm actually a pretty good cook. However, last year I made a coconut cream pie that would even make the hungriest of people choose to never eat again. This pie could be added to the dictionary as one of the definitions of putrescense. I had announced to my family earlier in the day that I would be making a pie. I hadn't cooked something sweet for a long time, so they were thrilled, and the anticipation for a dessert built throughout the day.
When the moment came to eat the coconut cream pie, my teenage children had huge smiles on their faces and forks were poised. After taking one bite, my son said after a pause, "Will there be reparations?". My heart sank and I knew immediately that it must truly taste awful, because he will usually eat anything sweet. We laughed and they renamed the pie, 'Crappy Coconut Kah Kah Crumble'. After so much anticipation and such a huge letdown, he truly wanted me to make things right. I eventually repaired his crushed hopes and gave them a much better dessert on a different day.
I realized that life is like that a lot. We look forward to happy times, we anticipate freedom from suffering, yet sometimes "with our forks poised" we take a big bite of disappointment or sorrow. If the unpleasant taste makes us wonder, "Will there be reparations?" I believe that, yes, in a roundabout comparison, reparations were made for each of us ~ for those times when the things that happen in life don't mesh with our hopes and dreams. A reparation is an act of making amends, offering an expiation (in Spanish, the word for atonement is "expiación"), or a payment for damages*. That payment was made by Christ who bore all things and suffered for each one of our sorrows, sins and hardships. Christ's atonement is the reparation we hope for. It is a reparation that is constant, never-changing. We just have to remember that He already suffered for us so that we don't have to. I don't know why I constantly have to remind myself of that.
How can I feel that comfort and healing deep in my own heart, so that I can truly feel the real-life effects of Christ's atonement for ME? "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" ** is an amazing promise. Come unto me is the part we need to pay attention to. WE have to make a little effort, like praying and/or reading the scriptures and/or going to church. The fact that He suffered for me means that I can come to Him by praying, and if I ask, He will "shoulder" whatever feels like a burden to me, whatever feels hard to handle or just plain disappointing. In the moments when we feel that miraculous lifting of our burdens, there is no other reparation that could compare.
So, "will there be reparations" for you? Yes.
They were already made for you a long, long time ago.
[This post was originally published in 2007.]
**Matthew 11:28, The Holy Bible