I went to a funeral today. It was for a girl I grew up with. She was a couple years older than me and graduated from high school with my older brother. She's been battling with a brain tumor for the last number of years. She passed away the day after Thanksgiving.
It was so wonderful to hear about her life. It's not been an easy life, but her attitude, to the end, was upbeat and very people oriented. There was a lot said about being truly interested in others. It was shared that at first it didn't come naturally, it was something she had to learn, but once she learned it, it became second nature. What a great lesson to learn! We were challenged to walk away from the funeral and find something we could improve in ourselves to be more like her. This is what I walked away with.
I have so many friends suffering through so many things right now that I just felt like I HAD to share them. Actually, one of the guys that spoke was so profound in so many ways that I'm going to see if I can somehow contact him and get his notes. I just feel like there's so much there that might be answers to some prayers I've had lately. The following are just snippets, and I wish I had all the words and feelings that surrounded them that I could just share that all with you here, but here are the fragments, anyway....
One gentleman referred to "Transformational suffering."
Another one said, "There is no testimony without the test."
This same gentleman said, "The best time to plant a tree is 25 years ago. The second best time is now."
I believe the bishop (who's an old friend of the Warden's and mine--weird that he's old enough to be a "bishop") said "Prayers of thanks for every unanswered plea that proved us."
So many hard times going on for so many. These quotes all seem to hover around the same idea....that we keep things in focus understanding that there's a greater power in charge here. We just need to trust him. Why is this so hard for me to remember? Glad for a reminder. I just wish the reminders came in a different form than a funeral.
It was nice to run into so many from my childhood. Some of these people I haven't seen since my early twenties. It's funny, as I would run into an old friend and we would talk about memories from being in that ward, we spoke of others from the ward as if they were family, and I also noticed that as I spoke with those friends that my feelings for them ran deep--they were my family too. I haven't seen them in twenty years, but the mark they've left on me is indelible. They're still my family.
In the Church, we refer to each other as "brothers" and "sisters," and we live in what is frequently referred to as a "ward family." I guess I never took that very literally until I noticed it today. Such a sweet feeling!