Monday, November 2, 2009
We've experienced quite a week in our ward. One of our stalwarts, a man everyone loved, passed away quietly. He had been battling Lou Gehrig's disease for quite some time. Recently, we thought he was improving and our hopes were raised that all would be well. It is---just not in the manner we had envisioned.
With heavy hearts, we girded up for the funeral. I've spent quite a bit of time the past few days with this man's sister who is a friend, and someone that I now visiting teach. Her heart is understandably shattered. She had been spending several hours each day with her brother, rendering service and lifting spirits. Her hopes had risen with the improvement she had witnessed. Her brother's death was not the miracle she had prayed for. Also, this woman's father passed away 6 months ago, and she is still healing from that great loss. Her heart is very tender, and the months ahead will be challenging.
Since I'm still the fearless leader for the YW in our ward, I had another concern: one of our Mia Maids is the youngest daughter of the valiant man who slipped from our lives this past week. Three other YW in our ward are nieces. This is a difficult time for all four young ladies. Somehow we have to help them ease through the heartache of losing a loved one.
In the middle of all of this, another ward stalwart, our previous bishop, suffered a massive heart attack. He was life-flighted to Utah for emergency by-pass surgery. His wife is our current Relief Society president. She was hit from all sides. She had been out of town to be with a daughter who had given birth to her first child when she received the news about her husband's heart condition. As she made preparations to leave and be with her husband, this woman's father passed away with a heart attack.
Wow! Is it pouring trials our direction, or what? It seemed as if it was storming like crazy in all of our lives. In a state of shock, we pulled together to survive. Knowing this funeral would be huge, all of our ward organizations rallied to help the remaining member of the R.S. presidency. (The woman I mentioned above who had aided her brother each day, is the other counselor in this presidency.)
To make matters even more entertaining, for weeks, our activities committee had been pulling together a huge Halloween party. It was to take place on October 31st. As it turned out, this would be the day of the funeral. Several of us wondered if it would be better to cancel the festivities in light of what had happened. Our wise bishop decided to continue with the plans that had been laid. He was definitely inspired.
Some of us who had been asked to help with the Halloween Carnival\Ward Trunk & Treat, had to hurry home to change clothes after the funeral so we could return to the church in time to set up the Halloween games. As we hurriedly redecorated the gym, we wondered if anyone would come to this event.
Surprisingly, most of our ward returned to celebrate what was left of this particular holiday. A goodly share of these people dressed in costume, including the children of the man whose life had been celebrated during the earlier funeral. This Halloween party proved to be a much needed stress release, and a chance to focus on something fun. It was the exact sunburst that was needed in our lives that night.
Life is like that. Storms move in and we often think it is the end of the world. Our faith is shaken and we wonder how we're going to survive. Then the Son bursts through the clouds and we realize that we're not as alone as we were thinking.
Our Savior is always there for us, no matter what trial we're enduring. He has experienced more than any of us can possibly comprehend, and His Atonement can heal our hearts if we will but turn to Him. When hearts are shattered, it is difficult to focus on the light He can bring into our lives. Our challenge is to look beyond the clouds, toward the Son-bursts of hope that will help us survive the difficult days ahead.