Aug 25, 2008

Earth Hath No Sorrow that Heaven Cannot Heal

by Rene Allen

It is 5:30 AM. Outside the sky is early-morning gray – a sign to me that the days are shortening, the nights growing longer. A month ago at this time, the sun was up, and the Mexican Birds of Paradise outside my window brightly illuminated. Now they seem dull colored, but even the gray morning can’t disguise the inherent throbbing orange and yellow of their blooms.

I am up, but wish I were still asleep. I wish the phone call from my father at 11 o’clock last night had been a dream. I wish I had awakened to a clean palette of thoughts, of fresh ideas about a new day. Instead, I have a tragedy to deal with and it is so meshed to the ideas of my blog two weeks ago as to be stunning.

My last blog was about this life being the time to prepare to meet God. Last night, my father called to tell me that my brother and his 23 year old son were killed along with 8 other people in a plane crash a couple of miles from the Canyonland, Utah, airport. Lansing was a dermatologist. Each month, he and his office staff traveled to underserved locales to provide skin cancer screening and other medical services. He has been doing it for five years or more. His son, Dallin, whose wife will soon have their first child, accompanied him. Dallin was in the process of applying to medical school. He idolized his father, and Lansing was immensely proud of him. I recently helped Dallin with his personal statement for medical school. Now, I struggle to accept the process has ended, that this young man who was serious about life and about making contributions, is gone and that my dear brother is, too.

But I return to the Book of Mormon for comfort. After Alma talked to his son Corianton about the resurrection and mercy and justice, he told him that he was called to preach the word, that he may “bring souls unto repentance, that the great plan of mercy may have claim upon them.” And then Alma took his sons and they went to do the Lord’s work.

In my mind, I see Lansing and Dallin, father and son as companions, teaching the word: the great doctrines of the resurrection, of a plan of Atonement, of the Savior and his love for each of us. I see them in radiant white and they are glorious and powerful.

We here who remain suffer their loss and we grieve. I think of what the future might have held and there are now huge gaps, vacancies, distortions in what should have been and this makes me incredibly sad. But then I see them, their white clothing and gleaming faces, and feel comfort, and assurance, and hope.

Here is the promise of eternal life, of our unique faith and religion, that families are forever.


  1. Rene,
    I saw this on the news and I'm deeply saddened by your personal loss. I truly appreciate your spirit. It is wonderful at times like these to be LDS and to understand and believe in Heavenly Father's eternal plan. Godspeed to all your family.


  2. Rene, this was wrenching and beautiful all at once. I grieve for you and your family yet am strengthened by your faith.

  3. What a sad, sad thing! There is comfort in the Atonement and Resurrection, but it is appropriate to grieve as long as you need to also. I'm so sorry for your family's great loss.

  4. Thank you for your great testimony, Rene. You and your family have my prayers and thoughts.

  5. Thank you Rene for giving us the opportunity to mourn with you and rejoice also as the scriptures remind us. It won't take away the pain or the loss but it will give hope.

  6. Thank you - so many well wishers, so much faith, so many prayers. I do feel support - and I'm sure that angels are carrying the same message of hope and comfort to the families of the other victims - I hope their hearts are able to receive it.

  7. Rene, thank you for sharing your beautiful testimony. Do you feel as though the thoughts you were given and wrote about last time you blogged were sent to you to prepare you for this trial? I am so grateful for a loving Father who prepares us for these challenges.

    I, too, mourn with you and rejoice with you and yours. I'm sending you more hugs...and angels.

  8. I do, Kari - I keep going back to those verses in Alma and take great comfort in them.

  9. I love your nature descriptions that seems to fill your soul even during time of great loss. Perhaps your ability to see so much beauty in God's creations is one of your many developed talents that will help see you through.


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