Tuesday Devotional: Miracles amidst adversity

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  • Ramona O. Hopkins spoke at Tuesday’s Devotional

Ramona O. Hopkins, chair of the Department of Psychology, spoke at Tuesday’s Devotional about finding meaning amidst the trials and adversities life brings.

Hopkins grew up having a set plan for her life: go to school, get married, become a nurse and have a family. All was going according to plan until July 11, 1981. A tragic accident involving her son would change not only her life, but her perspective on it. She titled her speech “A Miracle in the Making, Finding the Meaning in Adversity.”

Hopkins’ son, Josh, was found that summer afternoon pinned under their family’s garage door. After desperately trying to lift the door off the 4-year-old, and calling for help, her son stopped receiving oxygen to his brain. He was life-flighted to Primary Children’s Medical Center in Salt Lake City in critical condition. He suffered from severe anoxia, which is a lack of oxygen to the brain. The damage would be life changing. Doctors recommended that Josh be placed in an institution, and the chances for recovery looked slim.

“We were young, untrained and unprepared for the drastic changes and extreme challenges that had come uninvited into our relatively calm life,” Hopkins said.

Hopkins and her husband, Scott, decided an institution was not an option.

After the accident, the days grew long for the youngster and his family. Daily physical and occupational therapy and speech rehabilitation made Ramona Hopkins’ daily routine a busy one. Josh progressed slowly, and Hopkins questioned why her family was having to face this trial.

Looking back on that tragic day that changed their family’s life forever, Hopkins talked about several things she has learned from the adversity she faced.

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Dr. Mona Hopkins gives Tuesday's devotional in the Marriott Center. She spoke on the blessings that can come from adversity and trials.

The first lesson she related was about education and learning. Hopkins talked about how everyone should continually strive to learn and grow in this life.

“Education includes formal classroom education, lessons learned from missions, church callings, travel, parenting and experience in both secular and gospel knowledge,” Hopkins said.

This life lesson also prompted Hopkins to go back to school and get a doctorate degree. She still continues to learn as she is currently studying the affects of oxygen on the brain.

Second, Hopkins said laugh often. Hopkins saw her son find his sense of humor, even though he was enduring a difficult challenge. An Ensign article written by Brad Wilcox in March 2000 titled, “If We Can Laugh at It, We can Live With It” helped her learn this life lesson.

“Humor can help us cope with adversity, helps us to heal, improves our relationships with each other and can provide a needed perspective on life,” Wilcox said.

The final lesson she related was to serve where called. Hopkins saw the difference that others’ service had on her family, and since then she has tried to pay it forward.

“We can choose our response to adversity – we can be bitter and angry. We can choose to let it fester, canker and destroy who we are,” Hopkins said. “Or we can learn to love, forgive, accept and learn from our fate and forget ourselves in the service of others.”

Hopkins said she learned life lessons and saw miracles work in her life through the adversity she faced.

“All of us will experience difficult challenges in life,” Hopkins said. “How you deal with and overcome adversity is what is important.”

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