I’m reading President Benson’s biography. You probably already know that he grew up, the oldest of eleven children, on a sugar beet farm in Idaho. At one point, when his mother was expecting her eighth child, his father was called on a mission.
While he was gone, smallpox struck the family. Although no one died, it must have been an especially frightening time, since Sister Benson was still pregnant.
I was thinking about what it would be like to have seven kids (the oldest was 11), have a husband on the other end of the country for two years, be expecting a baby, have a farm to maintain if you wanted to eat, have no telephone, car, or running water. (I won’t mention the lack of Internet and air conditioning, my two favorite innovations.) I would imagine that her easiest day of work during this period of her life involved an exertion that would kill me, and I don’t think I am exaggerating.
We say, frequently, that God allows us to struggle and suffer for our own growth. Compared to Sister Benson, am I growing? I certainly am not struggling and suffering the way that she did. I wonder how any of us might expect to look Sister Benson in the eyes and claim that our mortal experience tried or challenged us in the way that hers did. She is, of course, not an exception. I’ll spare you the stories of people walking across the plains while their bare feet left a trail of blood in the snow.
I feel weak, lazy, and ungrateful.