Sunday, January 25, 2009

Friday, January 16, 2009

Molly's thoughts about death and the afterlife, part four...

Molly visited the Pleasant Green Cemetery on February 10, 2001. This is what she noted about the cemetery:
"This cemetery I visited on Saturday afternoon, Feb. 10th, located about as far west as you can go on the Oquirrah Mountains and Kennecot provided an interesting and unique experience. I was told that the nature of civilization can be judged by how the people regard their dead. It is not like the regular cemeteries found within the city with many ordinances and specifications. This cemetery is as distinctive as each individual buried there."
On one headstone at this cemetery she found a quote by Helen Keller. She chose to begin her paper about the cemetery visit with this quote:
"The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched-they must be felt with the heart."
She also spoke with a man who was visiting one of the graves. The man's 42-year old son had recently been killed in a traffic accident and the man would come to the grave two or three times each week. Molly wrote:
"As he talked about his son, he expressed a hope that life just had to go on after death. He told of how his son's baby daughter would look off into the corner of the ceiling and 'goo' at someone, even though no one was visibly there. He believed it to be his son visiting. He also told of how his cats would look wide-eyed at something in his son's room with expressed interest, again while no one else seemed to be there. I hoped that it was with comfort that he was able to express his feelings and thoughts about his son with me."
Within the uniqueness of this particular cemetery, Molly notices Helen Keller's fascinating quote and lives it in her interaction with this man. Part of Molly's uniqueness was precisely in her desire to communicate with people in this way.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Grandma's Hands (One of the Many Email Forwards My Mom Sent Me)

My mom was a big email forwarder. I've been cleaning up my inbox and found this that she sent to me in April of 2007. I've been sitting here for 10 minutes, reading it and trying not to cry because I'm at work.

Grandma, some ninety plus years, sat feebly on the patio bench. Shedidn't move, just sat with her head down staring at her hands. When I sat down beside her she didn't acknowledge my presence and the longer I sat I wondered if she was OK.

Finally, not really wanting to disturb her but wanting to check on her at the same time, I asked her if she was OK. She raised her head and looked at me and smiled. "Yes, I'm fine, thank you for asking," she said in a clear voice strong.

"I didn't mean to disturb you, grandma, but you were just sitting here staring at your hands and I wanted to make sure you were OK," I explained to her.

"Have you ever looked at your hands," she asked. "I mean really looked at your hands?"

I slowly opened my hands and stared down at them. I turned them over, palms up and then palms down. No, I guess I had never really looked at my hands as I tried to figure out the point she was making.

Grandma smiled and related this story:

"Stop and think for a moment about the hands you have, how they have served You well throughout your years. These hands, though wrinkled, shriveled and weak, have been the tools I have used all my life to reach out and grab and embrace life.

"They braced and caught my fall, when as a toddler I crashed upon the floor. They put food in my mouth and clothes on my back. As a child my mother taught me to fold them in prayer. They tied my shoes and pulled on my boots. They held my husband and wiped my tears when he went off to war.

"They have been dirty, scraped and raw, swollen and bent. They were uneasy and clumsy when I tried to hold my newborn son. Decorated with my wedding band, they showed the world that I was married and loved someone special. They wrote my letters to him and trembled and shook when I buried my parents and spouse.

"They have held my children and grandchildren, consoled neighbors, and shook in fists of anger when I didn't understand.

"They have covered my face, combed my hair, and washed and cleansed the rest of my body. They have been sticky and wet, bent and broken, dried and raw. And to this day, when not much of anything else of me works real well, these hands hold me up, lay me down, and again continue to fold in prayer.

"These hands are the mark of where I've been, and the ruggedness of life. But more importantly it will be these hands that God will reach out and take when he leads me home. And with my hands, He will lift me to His side and there I will use these hands to touch the face of Christ."

I will never look at my hands the same again, but I will remember, God reached out and took my grandma's hands and led her home.

I, too, want to touch the face of God and feel His hands upon my face.

-Author Unknown

Friday, January 2, 2009

But, To The Man of Faith...

How bitter must be the suffering and grief of those who see nothing beyond the grave except the beginning of eternal night and oblivion. For them that thus believe, death has its sting and the grave its victory. To them, even the glory of this earth is but the last flickering of a candle in unending blackness.

But, to the man of faith, death is but the taking up again of the life he broke off when he came to this earth.

-Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Heber J. Grant

I am eternally grateful to my mother for raising me with the teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Because of this I know that families can be together forever. I know that following commandments yields blessings and not following commandments yields you being on your own. (Simple, yet so hard to get sometimes.)

Heavenly Father tells us what we should and shouldn't do to take care of our bodies. Doctors on this earth sometimes tell us things are okay that Heavenly Father says are not. I'm going to go with the guy who created my body and knows how it works.

This life is for us to experience and make choices. We may suffer the consequences of others' choices, and we will be judged on how we react and handle what we've been given. Do not let your heart be overwhelmed by sorrow, anger or hurt, because it is so easy in this situation. Believe me. (Maybe this is a personal post-it for myself.)

Heavenly Father does not want us to be unhappy and He has given us this gospel so we can be as happy as possible. (Once again, He made the earth and made us and knows how it's all supposed to work...gave us a user's manual and everything.) He gave us our agency so we can make choices and be held responsible. I believe that, like any parent, He is ecstatic when we make right choices and feels bad when we make wrong ones. We are supposed to learn from our experiences on this earth, including learning to better ourselves, and then leave and continue the life we had before we came here. That's the whole point.