As I sat waiting to get a haircut today, I picked up a copy of the April 2nd issue of People Magazine. Normally I can’t read this rag. The stories it carries are about as substantive, uplifting, and palatable as watching back-to-back reruns of “The View” or “Judge Judy”. It’s the literary equivalent of daytime TV, full of tawdry, shallow, narcissistic navel gazing by celebrities, and photos of other also-ran celebs doing nothing of significance in the larger scheme of life, the Universe, and everything.
Then I turned to page 82 (it was a long wait) where a story entitled “Scenes from a Beautiful Life” caught my attention immediately. The couple featured in the piece, Christian and Stephanie Nielson, had been the subject of a video posted on Mormon.org by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The video had gone viral but had staying power judging by the number of times I kept seeing it pop up on mainstream social media sites I frequent.
And, for good reason. The story they tell of their freak plane crash (Christian is, or was, a private aviation enthusiast) and their being horribly burned and disfigured is a touching and heartbreaking example of the incredible adversity the most ordinary of people can find themselves enduring. The expectation of today’s popular culture environment would be that the formerly comely couple would lose interest in one another after losing their physical attractiveness. They smashed such low expectations by rekindling their marriage through a whole new courtship. They reconnected with their children, even though it wasn’t easy for the children or their parents, and became an even stronger family today than before.
As a fellow Mormon, everything about their story I could relate to. I could put myself in their shoes and wonder of I would react as valiantly as they did to their trials.
I hadn’t known that Stephanie was writing a book on her comeback. The book’s title is Heaven is Here. You can order it on Amazon.com.