Wednesday, June 10, 2009

There Can Be Miracles by Michele Ashman Bell

This is a five generation picture of my 100 year old grandma, Norene, my father, Nolan, myself, my son, Weston, and his daughter, Halle. Norene is Halle's great, great, grandma!

When I was a little girl I used to follow my dad around like a puppy. We were buddies. He took me fishing, scavenging for antiques, golfing, and even tried to teach me how to play the banjo. I loved gutting the fish, digging through piles of junk to find treasures, running after stray golf balls and listening to my dad play songs. As I got older our relationship became strained. He wasn't active at all in the church and this caused a lot of friction in our home. My mom was a rock, holding steady as storms in our house blew through occasionally. It was a confusing situation at times and I'm sure I was the cause of plenty of contention between my parents.
I was one of four girls in our family and suffice it to say, all of us ended up getting married in the temple. It was difficult not to have my dad there the day I was sealed to my husband. I tried to understand but deep down I really felt bad he could be inside the temple with me on this very special day. My grandmother, who turned 100 years old on June 11th, always told us to never give up on my dad. She reminded us to pray for him, she was convinced he would one day become active.
A few years ago my father was diagnosed with cancer. It was devastating. I was so scared. I wasn't ready for him to go yet. I wanted more time with him.
Our prayers were answered. It was horrible watching him go through the pain and agony of chemo. For months and months he suffered through his treatments. But not only was his body breaking down, so was the wall around his heart.
This horrible experience became the greatest blessing in our lives. It was a miracle. My father emerged a changed man. Today he holds a calling and attends church every week. He is also a current temple recommend holder. I have never felt closer to him in my life than I have with him since he fought his battle with cancer. Before when I would call to talk, he would answer and hand the phone directly to my mom. Now, we can talk for hours. He is the most involved, loving, supportive, and proud father and grandfather I've ever known.
I'm so glad we never gave up praying, exercising faith and believing that my dad would survive cancer and that he would become active in the church. Miracles do happen.


Gale Sears said...

Thank you for the words of hope, Michele. I have several family members that struggle through life without the anchor of faith. We pray for them everyday.

Cheri J. Crane said...

Wonderful post, Michele. =)And a great reminder that all things are possible.

Valerie said...

Michele, what an experience. It's a good reminder for me that people who seem to have it all (and to have it all together--such as yourself :-) may have much more challenging and complicated lives than I can imagine, which is good for those times when I might want to wallow a little in my own "growing experiences." Although my mom's path and our family's experiences were different than your dad's and your family's, I learned how challenges can turn into great blessings with patience, faith, and love. Hugs to you, Val