Thursday, January 7, 2016


Today isn't what I thought it would be.  I spent the morning doing things I don't usually do.  And this blog post isn't what I expected to write today.  Usually January 7th is the first day of the year when I feel life breathing back into me after Christmas.  It's usually the day I finally stop mourning the loss of the decorations and Christmas lights and bright colors in my home.  It's the day I force myself to find joy in the quiet after all the people who filled my house over the break have returned to their regular schedules.  It's been a long, quiet week already, and going to a funeral wasn't at the top of the list of things I thought might breathe life back into me on a cloudy, grey morning.  But I went to this one anyway.

The entire program was in Spanish.  I don't speak Spanish at all, but I opted to just listen without the translator headphones that were offered and try to feel the spirit of what was being said.  And remarkably, I understood a lot more than I thought I would.  I understood the parts about how Lucita would always kiss everyone on the cheek and how she loved having babies in her home and how even as her eyesight gradually deteriorated, she would still read the scriptures every single day.  I wrote down the words that were said over and over again that I didn't understand, like "amorosa" and looked them up when I got home.  But honestly, I didn't even have to do that to know that this was a remarkable, kind, caring, spiritual woman with a blazing testimony.  I only met her a couple of times, but I know her children and her grandchildren and they are remarkable.  

Today, my heart aches for people who aren't here, people I can't talk to, whose voices I can no longer hear.  I miss my parents.  I miss my grandmothers.  I miss both of Craig's grandmothers.  But these words from a Conference talk awhile ago were in my head as I drove home from McKinney this afternoon.  
"In light of what we know about our eternal destiny, is it any wonder that whenever we face the bitter endings of life, they seem unacceptable to us?  There seems to be something inside of us that resists endings. 
Why is this?  Because we are made of the stuff of eternity.  We are eternal beings, children of the Almighty God, whose name is Endless, and who promises eternal blessings without number.  Endings are not our destiny.  The more we learn about the gospel of Jesus Christ, the more we realize that endings here in mortality are not endings at all.  They are merely interruptions - temporary pauses that one day will seem small compared to the eternal joy awaiting the faithful.  How grateful I am to my Heavenly Father that in His plan there are no true endings, only everlasting beginnings. 
How blessed we are if we recognize God's handiwork in the marvelous tapestry of life.  Gratitude to our Father in Heaven broadens our perception and clears our vision.  May we live in thanksgiving daily - especially during the seemingly unexplainable endings that are part of mortality.  May we allow our souls to expand in thankfulness toward our merciful Heavenly Father.  May we ever and constantly raise our voices and show by word and deed our gratitude to our Father in Heaven and to His Beloved Son." - Dieter F Uchtdorf
At the end of the funeral, the closing hymn listed was Conmigo quedate, Señor.  I had no idea until the organ started playing that it was Abide With Me.  What a beautiful way to hear that hymn.  And what a personally powerful source of joy for me.  I did not expect to feel uplifted by a funeral.  I didn't expect to hear things in Spanish that were personally relevant.  And I didn't expect this January 7th to be anything but grey and foggy.  But sometimes days turn out differently than you think they're going to.  Sometimes JOY and HOPE sneak into unexpected places.  

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