I Shall Go To Him

I’ve seen grief up close and personal. Like most people, I’ve experienced it, too. It’s heavy, and although there are times a person feels “fine,” something can come out of the blue and conjure up those dark feelings. Where can a person turn for peace?

Yesterday morning before attending a visitation for a church member, I read a chapter in Good Book by David Plotz, a random reading choice. Or was it? It just so happened that I read the author’s commentary on King David’s behavior after the death of his infant son. Before the baby died, David “weeps, fasts, and pleads with God to spare the child.” After the boy dies, David “prays, then returns home, and promptly sits down for a big meal, his first in a week.”

On the surface, David’s behavior seems callous. His feelings seemingly have taken a 180-degree turn. But when his servants ask how he could now be eating so heartily (my word) after the weeping and fasting of the week before, David responds with conviction and certainty that fasting will not bring the boy back. While the child lived, the king had hope that fasting, weeping, and pleading might persuade God to spare the little one’s life. 

“But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.” 2 Samuel 12:23

I’m holding on to that thought. 

Is it coincidental that I came across that forgotten situation an hour before seeing grief up close and personal? I don’t know. I was glad to be able to share it with my friend. No matter how much weeping, wailing, gnashing of teeth, pleading, or railing against the powers that be, nothing can bring back our lost loves. But we can go to them.

P.S. No stranger to grief, my husband lost one of his sons six years ago, and I often say something like, “Every day you live brings you closer to the time you’ll see him again.” I think that thought comforts him.

And I hope it comforts you. “I shall go to him.”

Having Goodly Parents

 

Anyone who knows me knows that whenever possible, I like to get up early to read, write, meditate, and listen to the world wake up. “Whenever possible” means when I’m not traveling with other people and when I don’t have a houseful of company. I like both of those scenarios, but they don’t work well for quiet time.

This morning, I decided to use a writing prompt and just go with whatever the first one was instead of sifting through them in hopes of getting something that grabbed me. I came across this one from January 5 of last year: Call Me Ishmael. “Take the first sentence from your favorite book and make it the first sentence of your post.”

I’m not sure whether it’s because it was Sunday morning and I had church on my mind or what, but here’s what came to mind immediately: “I Nephi, having been born of goodly parents….” Those are the first few words from the Book of Mormon, and they apply so well to my situation.

I don’t know how or why I got so lucky, but I had some amazing parents. They were young and in love and probably felt slapped silly at the quick and relentless toll that children can take on a person. Being young helped because they had energy, but still, what a life changer children can be! They worked hard, they sacrificed, they were honest, they set good examples, they believed in the value of education, and they loved us. Just about any and everything the church (LDS) stands for, so did they. All those years they were preparing me to become a Mormon, and they didn’t even know it. In fact, they might have been horrified to imagine it.

I won’t go overboard and risk turning people off, so I’ll keep it short and sweet. Here’s what I believe in a nutshell: I believe in God the Eternal father and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost. I believe Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon from ancient plates; there is no other explanation. I believe in the Bible and sometimes get a little amused by people who think it’s a sappy or sentimental book…do they even know what’s in it?

We recently went to see Exodus, and just the plagues were horrific!! And then there’s murder and betrayal and polygamy and bloodshed and incest and all sorts of unfortunate situations, especially throughout the Old Testament. We’re studying the New Testament this year, and Lisa has gotten us off to a good start. An excellent teacher, she’s planted a seed in her class members to follow Christ’s example and “love one another.”

It took me a long time to make the decision to join the church, but once I did, there was no turning back. I still feel that it’s the smartest decision I ever made, especially for my children because it affects all of us, now and forever. It’s a little thing but a cool one to visit other wards and walk by the Primary room on my way out and see the children and their leaders getting ready for sharing time. It’s wonderful knowing that five of my grandchildren went to Primary in the Camden ward a couple of weeks ago and felt welcomed and at ease.

I’ve already passed my 500-word limit so I’ll end with a few of the things I love about the church: the music, the lingo, the teachings, the reverence, the leadership, the love. Yes, the love and the feeling of unity and closeness that I share with my church friends.

And about the teachings, I can say, “Things will work out,” to my children and grandchildren, but somehow it carries more weight to remind them that President Hinckley used to say it too. I can say, “You can do it!” but the Young Women’s theme of a couple of years ago, “I can do hard things,” is more meaningful. It was uplifting to see these five words written in crayon and framed in my daughter Carrie’s home last week—in three different bedrooms.

And all of this came to pass in my life, I think, because of my goodly parents.