Wright Words: Despite horrific fire, Mormon couple has inspiring message for the world

Published: Tuesday, April 15 2014 9:00 a.m. MDT

Both mother and father addressed the strength of their marriage and how years of investing in their love has played a key role in their ability to survive these dark, painful early days of the tragedy. I noted more than once how unified they are in their grief, and when one struggles, the other is quick to say, “However you are is OK with me.”

When one laughs at a memory or the silliness of one of their other children, the spouse laughs, too. And when one needs to stop and let the grief wash over them like a spring storm, the other offers an embrace and a loving ear.

Many others have offered their support as well. Neighbors, family and LDS ward members have wrapped them in love and offered shelter of every type. Tears quickly returned when the Averys spoke of this outpouring of pure Christian service.

As our emotional discussion came to a close, I asked what message they would want the world to take away from their painful week of grief and disbelief. Naomi, without needing a moment to gather and order her thoughts, looked me in the eyes and testified: “The Resurrection is real; it will really happen. It’s not just a quaint fantasy that we use to comfort ourselves. It is real doctrine, and I know it as well as I know anything.”

As the spirit settled in and around us, Naomi boldly continued. “I know the Atonement covers all pain. It’s not just for our sins, but for every pain, anxiety, weakness. Everything and anything.”

Dirk, holding tight to his wife’s arm and hanging, like me, on every word, took a turn. “It’s a blessing, isn’t it, to have loved someone so much that we feel this pain?”

As I packed my things for my long drive home, I thanked them each for sharing such sacred impressions with me and allowing me to share their story. Their love of their friends, their family and their faith is something no words on a digital or printed page could ever capture.

For many miles after leaving their temporary home, and even in the days since, I have heard those three words ring over and over like a heavenly reminder. They are eternal, and they are true.

“God loves us.”

The Avery Family Fire Relief Fund has been set up to help the family, and contributions can be made via Paypal.com or sent to Avery Family Fire Relief c/o Wells Fargo, Celebrate Virginia Branch, 35 Bank Fords Parkway, Fredericksburg, VA 22406. A Facebook page is at www.facebook.com/AveryFamilyFireRelief.

Jason Wright is a New York Times best-selling author of 10 books, including "Christmas Jars" and "The Wednesday Letters." Learn more at jasonfwright.com, or connect on Facebook at facebook.com/jfwbooks or by email at jwright@deseretnews.com.

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