In the book The Infinite Atonement, Tad Callister tells the story of Florence Chadwick, the first woman to swim the English Channel. She swam both to and from England, taking a collective 29 hours and 42 minutes between the two trips.
With that impressive accomplishment under her belt, Chadwick attempted to swim the distance from the California coast to Catalina Island (for those who are curious, a distance of around 26 miles).
The coastal waters were about 48 degrees, and during Chadwick’s swim a thick fog rolled in. A half mile from Catalina Island, she became discouraged and quit. When reporters questioned her the next day, they asked whether it had been the length of the swim or the cold water that had beaten her. She replied that it had been neither- “I was licked by the fog.”
Chadwick explained that when she had been swimming the English Channel, a similar fog has arisen. She had gotten discouraged, and reached for her father, who was in a boat at her side. He stood and pointed in the direction she was swimming. She raised her head above the fog, and saw the shoreline in the distance. With this renewed vision, she was able to finish her swim across the Channel.
A Vision for Life
In life, what motivates us? What makes us want to change?
Callister applies this story to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. He says, “With increased vision can come increased motivation. So it is with the Atonement. As our vision of the Atonement is enhanced, our motivation to embrace its full effects is proportionately increased” (The Infinite Atonement, 16; emphasis added).
Howard W. Hunter echoed that sentiment. He said, “As we come to understand (Jesus Christ’s) mission and the atonement which He wrought, we will desire to live more like Him” (Speeches of President Hunter, 7).
Sometimes I’ve been “licked by the fog.” With my limited vision, I loose resolve and give in to temptation. I make mistakes. I’ve found that studying and analyzing my behavior, my “swim,” doesn’t show me the shoreline beyond the fog; it hasn’t expanded my vision.
Understanding better the Atonement of Jesus Christ has expanded my vision; it has shown me the shoreline. Gaining a testimony of this sacrifice has done that more than studying and analyzing my behavior and choices. It’s the atonement of Jesus Christ is that motivates me, makes me to want to change.
It helps me to beat the fog.