Sunday, January 15, 2017

Be Still

1. Be still, my soul: The Lord is on thy side;
With patience bear thy cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In ev'ry change he faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: Thy best, thy heav'nly Friend
Thru thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

2. Be still, my soul: Thy God doth undertake
To guide the future as he has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: The waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while he dwelt below.

3. Be still, my soul: The hour is hast'ning on
When we shall be forever with the Lord,
When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love's purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: When change and tears are past,
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.

There have been times in my life when Heavenly Father has let me know He is "there" and aware of me in very special ways.  Back in 2010, I documented one such instance.  It remains one of my most precious memories, because I knew He was communicating with me in a special way that day.  Today I will document another so I never forget.

Today, our church bulletin indicated that we would be singing "Have I Done Any Good?" as our closing song for Sacrament Meeting. But what we actually sang for closing is posted above. I don't know why it got changed, who changed it, or when.  But I know what that song is for me.

I don't believe in coincidence.  But I do believe in a loving Father and a Savior who love me.  And They love you, too.

Be still, my soul: ...
When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love's purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: When change and tears are past,
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Humble and Kind

I've had four weeks to contemplate what I wanted to say.  And this song kept popping into my mind.  Because when I thought over my 35 years with my younger brother Brad, those are words that stood out to me to describe who he is.  Humble and kind.  Without guile.  Chooses joy.  Hopes.  Keeps trying.  Forgiving.  Non-judgemental.  Funny.

The reality is that, though I was the older sibling (by a mere 13 months), he has always been my example.  And I will spend the rest of my life learning from his 35 years.  I cannot claim to understand why this happened; why it was God's will.  I just have to trust that I will understand in time or in eternity. 

Brad was my first best friend.  And he remains one of my best friends.  Forever.  And my heart breaks to know that -- for the rest of my mortal life -- I can't pick up a phone to text him something silly like "coy!" or "Sucky Judge Reinhold".  I don't quite know what to do with that.  He understood my humor, and I understood his.  After all, we grew up together and we did everything together for so many years. 

I'm so grateful he is my brother.  So grateful, beyond words, that I am one of the few who can claim him as such.  He wasn't perfect, but he was (and is) amazing.  Losing him now leaves me with sorrow and regret over things I could have done better. 

Like the time, when I was in Tuscaloosa, he and I got in a fight over the phone because I (in all my at-the-time-childless-wisdom) criticized some of his parenting.  In anger, I hung up on him and went to Institute class.  Where I proceeded to feel incredibly guilty for how I'd behaved and for the things I'd said.  I planned to go home and call him after class to apologize.  But he called me first to apologize.  Even though, really, he hadn't been in the wrong.  He was like that.  He was always the first to say sorry. 

He lived in the present and hoped for the future.  It is why he fought so hard against the cancer that finally took his life last night.  He didn't spend a lot of time looking back at what was, but instead, with faith and hope, looked to the future to what would be.  Oh how I can learn from that.  For that is one of my greatest weaknesses.

Brad was selfless.  Brad never had much of material things, but he would give anything he could.  In one way or another, he was always giving.  Usually it was his time or just opening his home.  Which may not sound like much.  But when I first moved to Washington and had no job and no friends, Brad told me to come over to his house any time I wanted.  And he meant it.  How grateful I am for the time we spent together. 

I could say so much more about my beloved brother.  Though my heart is breaking and the pain is raw, I still know that he continues to live, and I will see him again one day.  And when I do, I will throw my arms around him and hug him tight.  I know he is now whole and far from the reaches of cancer and the pain that it caused.  And I know, because of what our Savior did for us, Brad will be resurrected one day and he will be perfect.  Until then, there will be a void in my life.  I know this.  I will miss him.  I already do.  But I know Brad is not that far away.  And I know my Savior will help me carry the burden of grief and loss.  For surely He has "borne [my] grief and carried [my] sorrows" already. 

God be with you 'til we meet again, Brad.  I love you more than words can say.