My mother, grandmother and grandfather taught me that there are three important rules to live by.
First, you must say thank you to our Creator before you receive. Before you harvest food or medicine, you say thank you. Before you go on the hunting trip, you say thank you. Before the person who is sick becomes well (physically or spiritually), we say thank you. Not only do we say thank you, but we give a gift to show our Creator that we know our prayers will be answered.
Second, and this is a step that is hard to do, we must accept any burden or challenge we may face and see it as an opportunity or lesson from which to learn. We may not like what has happened and, at the time, we usually do not understand what we can learn from the lesson. I am talking about the hard things of life such as the death of a loved one or, like my little sister, a person with physical or mental challenges.
The third and final step brings blessing and healing to us. This happens when we reach out to help others through what we have learned. It is our obligation to use what we learn in life to help someone else.
Let me tell you about Christopher James. He was a beautiful baby boy born to a young couple in December 1972. He was our second son. Our first son, Billy, was 2 years old. Our family was happy and every day seemed to be blessed. Then in March there came a reason to celebrate. Christopher had slept through the night for the first time.
But when I slid my hand under him to pick him up, he was ice cold! This cold thing was not my baby -- I questioned God! Why me? What had I ever done to deserve this? What had my baby done? I questioned my faith and I knew there was not any good that could come from this horror.