Fear of Falling

I am reluctant to carry my grandchildren. The surgery that took the tumor from my left leg took most of the calf muscle and I have a diminished ability to balance. A fear of falling lessens my willingness to carry small children. I remember dropping my first son on the final segment of the stairs in our North Logan house when I slipped while descending, and that was when I had two good legs and the resiliency of youth to rely on.

But my youngest daughter had to run an errand one evening and someone needed to watch her baby girl. My wife was going to dinner with friends. I was sitting in a chair in front of the TV. I volunteered to hold her while her mother was gone. She lay peacefully in my right arm and we watched a football game together until she went to sleep.

The Bonds of Belonging

I soon forgot the game and began to think about the joy of such experiences-about the trust and love and joy that reside in the bonds of belonging that bind families together. Sitting with my granddaughter, holding her, talking to her, and watching her smile were experiences of sublime joy.  

Those reflections caused me to remember the scripture in the Book of Mormon that tells us that because [Satan] “had fallen from heaven, and had become miserable forever, he sought also the misery of all mankind” (2 Nephi 2:18).

Why is he miserable forever? What makes him miserable? It seems to me there are two things, the absence of which in Lucifer’s existence would create continuous misery.

He Has No Body

First, he has no body. If “spirit and element, inseparably connected, receive a fullness of joy,” (Doctrine and Covenants 93:33), then spirit and body, temporarily connected as they are in mortality, must bring some portion of joy. I do not know what restrictions being body-less would place on Lucifer. The spirit world is filled with people who have no bodies, and many of them must be experiencing joy in abundance. However, Doctrine and Covenants 138:50 tells us that the dead in the world of spirits “had looked upon the long absence of their spirits from their bodies as a bondage.” But they know that they will one day be resurrected and get their bodies back. Satan will never have a body, and never have that fullness. That must be the cause of some his misery.

He Has Nobody

Second, Satan has nobody. I am not trying to be clever about this. What I mean is that he has nobody to love, or that will ever love him. He will never sit in an overstuffed recliner holding a beautiful granddaughter who goes to sleep in his arms, and then awakes and smiles at him.

I find great joy in a lot of activities. I love to eat and laugh and play games and teach and serve. But my most enduring joys come from my family. There is no question about this. When my family is around, and the atmosphere of eternal love fills the house, then I know what joy really is. Satan is denied that forever. Imagine the misery of never knowing the love or kiss or embrace of a family member.

On my youngest daughter’s birthday nineteen years ago I wrote this in my journal: “Tiffy has begun to show spontaneous affection. I came home from work and she raced across the kitchen to throw her arms around my leg and squeeze for a few moments. This is, I am certain, one of the great experiences of mortality. Hell has nothing to offer than can even begin to bleach the shadow of such an experience.” Of course Satan is miserable!