Life is like a 3-act play

Otherwise entitled: 'How can we explain stuff that seems unfair?'

March 23, 2014

It's the 2nd act. The director isn't here yet but the show goes on. I know I attended rehearsals, I just can't remember them. But I do have a sense of when things are going according to the script--which I seem to have lost or misplaced, so I have to improvise all my dialog and choreography. The songs and lyrics come naturally enough, which is strange. I'm a little concerned that we always end up having to do our own stunts.

Oh, and nobody seems to remember what happened in the 1st act. Off-stage I read about what happened in a critic's review. Apparently the reaction was split 33/66 but that my troupe was applauded as part of the winning majority.

They say the director won't get here until the very end of the second act. I wonder if I get to be on stage for the climax or if I'll be waiting in the wings, ready for the curtain call?

Uh-oh, looks like they're signaling--that's my cue to go back on stage. I wonder if this next scene is a dance number, a fight scene, or maybe a touching ballad?

This post was adapted from an idea conveyed in an interview with my mission president, Edson José Martins Lopes. The question I asked was simple:

"Why do bad things happen to seemingly good people?"

His answer, a part of which is used as the title of this post, was simple but has illuminated my mind in so many situations where at first I shrug my shoulders and wonder why things are the way they are.

Life is like a 3-act play. We find ourselves in the middle of the second act with no memory of the 1st act and no reheased experience regarding what will happen in the 3rd act.

Basically, we don't know. But we don't have all the facts so there's no sense worrying or thinking things are unfair.

1 Nephi 11:17

...I know that [God] loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things.

Joseph Smith - History, final paragraph of Oliver Cowdery's account regarding the translation of the plates and the restoration of the gospel

...Man may deceive his fellow-men, deception may follow deception, and the children of the wicked one may have power to seduce the foolish and untaught, till naught but fiction feeds the many, and the fruit of falsehood carries in its current the giddy to the grave; but one touch with the finger of his love, yes, one ray of glory from the upper world, or one word from the mouth of the Savior, from the bosom of eternity, strikes it all into insignificance, and blots it forever from the mind...

Everything will (eventually) be made right because of the Savior.

UPDATE (2021-07-19)

Just found this quote from Neal A. Maxwell, which may very well have been the source of my mission president's answer to me:

Trying to comprehend the trials and meaning of this life without understanding Heavenly Father’s marvelously encompassing plan of salvation is like trying to understand a three-act play while seeing only the second act. Fortunately, our knowledge of the Savior, Jesus Christ, and His Atonement helps us to endure our trials and to see purpose in suffering and to trust God for what we cannot comprehend. --Neal A. Maxwell, Enduring Well

Other References:

-Michael Whatcott