And it came to pass that there was no contention in the land, because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people.
4 Nephi 1:15
My son showed up at my house one night with a bouquet of flowers and a bar of my favorite dark chocolate. He told me he was thinking about me and wanted to come see me. He gave me a tight, tight hug and held me for a long time. He said, “I just wanted you to know how much I love and appreciate you and how you’ve always been there for me.”
I honestly didn’t know if I would ever see this day, at least not in this life.
The choices we have made in the past few months, some of them heart-wrenching and seemingly illogical, seem to have been the best thing for him. He is still making decisions that could negatively affect his life. (Conversely, he could grow up and leave them behind and live a successful, fulfilling life.) He is still far removed from what he was taught and how he was shown to live. But his heart is changing. Unlike the Nephites in the scripture above, he does not claim the love of God in his heart. But I do. And because I pray so fervently and diligently for him, I know that God’s love is reaching out to him and touching him in ways that he doesn’t yet recognize. He doesn’t claim the love of God (he doesn’t even claim the existence of God), but he cannot escape the influence of God’s love.
Hearts change. Through light and love and the atonement of Jesus Christ, hearts change. Sometimes they change quickly. More often, the change is slow and steady.
My Savior is watching over my son. He is gently guiding him, without interfering with his agency, to come back. Whether it’s in this life or in the life to come, my boy will come to himself and remember who he is.