Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Church alert, church alert.......divert your gaze if you can't read without picking fights.

I was thinking back to when my first grandpa died, then uncle Kelly, grandma Young, finally my last remaining grandparents within months of one another. Most recently, one of my best high school friends Todd died, followed up with the passing of our sweet Stake Relief Society Presidents father in this same week.This holiday season has been quite a ride. It's so strange to see how things like this take their toll differently on each individual person.

I remember when Uncle Kelly passed away I was broken. I'm not sure why, but it hit me like a ton of bricks. Even though it was completely expected, after a long hard fought battle with cancer.  I couldn't stop crying. I was a mess. Irreparably broken, or so it seemed. Maybe because he was the first family loss I had experienced  as an 'adult' and not a child. Grandpa Young died when I was about 12.  Maybe it was that I was stuck in Utah, alone, with my sister and her husband, while the rest of my family had each another to lean on in California. I felt  isolated from everything that I wanted to be near. Jamie was back in California, of course (it was her dad), and Jenn and Steve had each other. What really started to get my attention and kind of freaked me out  was that I started questioning the strength of my testimony, "I must not have a true testimony of the Gospel, namely, the resurrection and the atonement. If I did, I would not let death have such an impact on me. If I believe that we will live again and truly be reunited with our eternal families.....I shouldn't be this upset." 

Anyhow- shortly after learning of Todd's death,  I started flipping through old journals and notes that I taken at BYU from a class called, Teachings of the Latter Day Prophets. We studied a talk that Ezra Taft Benson gave shortly after Spencer W Kimball died. The thing that I wrote down was that Pres Benson said, (loosely quoted) "Mourning and feeling sorrow when a loved one dies is not a reflection of your testimony (or lack thereof). It does not reflect a lack a testimony of the resurrection. It simply shows how much we loved and cared for another person. We mourn him because we love him. The deeper the love, the deeper their loss will be felt and stronger the longing will be to one day be reunited with them. But  the problem is, that dwelling does not allow the comfort of the Spirit to penetrate and heal the hearts of those who mourn." (like I said, those were my notes, not a direct quote from the Prophet.)

Granted those are thoughts from the journal of the knuckle-head college version of me who was experiencing the first death of a close family member since my grandpa when I was a kid. Not like the grown up version is more eloquent or wise, but nevertheless. It just was too timely to be coincidence. To me it was a clear sign that Heavenly Father knows exactly how I feel, what I have gone through and what I need to hear in order to press forward in faith. That talk (I have been looking for a hard copy of it, but I can't find it) helped me to allow myself to be sad and to mourn a loss without adding guilt to the mix for not just putting on a happy face and acting like Little Suzie Sunshine. The problem comes from dwelling, not from feeling.
It's the sweet tender mercies that help sustain us in difficult times.  God hears, he listens and he is involved. Maybe not involved in a way that would like him to be, but that's just as well. He's the one who knows the end game.


Maursupial said...

well put. Thank you for that.

JillandMauricio said...

Jill I still cry over my grandma and she left us 11 years ago. I hate losing people. Todd was a super guy and this is a horrible thing. He will be missed-so you cry all you need to.

Kelsi {John, Jake, Georgia, Naomi} said...

beautiful. beautiful thoughts. beautiful girl. thank you.