It's been raining all morning here. We are thrilled! The little weather app on my phone says we are expecting rain all day today. We are super thrilled! I absolutely love it when it rains here! I am ready for the hot sticky summer weather to be over and the cool fall weather to begin! Can you believe it's fall now and it's been 100 degrees here in Arizona. It's time for a cool down!
I read an interesting story yesterday and thought I would share it. Here goes....
A news item from Australia told the story of Pascale Honore, a paraplegic woman who, after 18 years of being confined to a wheelchair, has taken up surfing. How?
Ty Swan, a young surfer, straps her to his back with duct tape. (can you believe that?) After getting the balancing perfect, Ty paddles out into the ocean so they can catch a wave and Pascale can experience the exhilaration of surfing.
(I think there is a commercial on T.V. that shows the two of them surfing) This requires a tremendous amount of trust; so many things could go wrong. Yet her confidence in Ty is enough to enable her to enjoy a dream come true, in spite of the danger.
Life is like that for the followers if Christ. We live in a dangerous world, filled with unpredictable challenges and unseen perils. Yet, we have joy because we know someone who is strong enough to carry us through the churning waves of life that threaten to overwhelm us.
In Psalms 5:11 we read, " But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.
In the face of life's great dangers and challenges, we can know a joy born out of our trust in God. His strength is more than enough!
I receive these little inspirational emails once a week. Once in a while they really touch me. This one was one of those that did. I guess because for so long now we have felt that we needed to be duct taped to the Savior too. Strapped to his back as he maneuvers us through these difficult times. But as we go through these experiences I have found that I do not need to be duct taped to the Lord. I merely need to exercise my faith in him. And as I exercise that faith, having no fear, I have found a strength beyond my own to maneuver through life's obstacles, challenges, and demands on my own two feet. How wonderful it is! What a blessing it is to know, without a doubt, that the Lord not only will allow me to figuratively duct tape myself to his back if needed, but eventually as you get stronger and stronger he will have you surfing the waves of life alone. No duct tape required! And that is the best part!
Over many, many years I have come to know a few things. 1) I am NEVER alone. The Lord is always there, no matter what. He surprises me once in a while when he makes his presence known in some very awesome ways too.
2) I have come to realize that life is hard. Life is very difficult. BUT with the little bit of knowledge I have of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, my faith, AND the Gift of the Holy Ghost, I can do hard things! I can not just survive and get through hard things, but I can actually enjoy the process. That wasn't even possible about a year ago....and that is the amazing part!
3) Now, my husband has know our Bishop and his family since they were all in High School. Kevin use to hang out with our Bishop's older brother all the time. Kevin considers the older brother like a brother to him. And, Kevin knew our Bishop's wife in High School too. They were not close, but he knew she was a good girl too. I knew the family through my relationship with my husband. In fact, I remember spending time at the Bishop's childhood home practicing a song with his sisters that we eventually sang at Kevin's farewell. (Just a little background) ANYWAY, what I am trying to say is that I have always known that our Bishop was called of God to be our Bishop. I have never felt that I needed to pray to ask my Heavenly Father to help me receive that knowledge. I just knew. BUT, what I have found over the past several months is one of the reasons WHY he was called to serve at this time, and in this ward. Our Bishop has been a huge blessing in our lives! He has been there for Kevin. He has found a way to help him with things that he really needs help with. Like setting up the list of men in our ward that will be available to come help Kevin if he needs it. That is a HUGE thing! I firmly believe that certain people are called to certain positions in the church because they know how to heed the promptings of the Holy Ghost. Well, our Bishop certainly knows how to do that, and we are very grateful that he does! What a blessing!
4) Not only have I seen changes in myself, but I have seen changes in people I would have NEVER dreamed would change. It's interesting to me how that happens. People who have been difficult have softened some. Maybe it wasn't even them that have changed. Maybe it's still been another change in me. My perspective has changed maybe. I'm still trying to figure this one out. :)
I have come to realize that if you really want to know how people are doing when they face a catastrophic illness or injury, ask the person closest to the sick or injured one. This is the person taking care of everything else while the sick or injured one tries to get better and back on their feet. This is the person that is sometimes falling apart on the sidelines. I have been that person. I am the one trying to hold it all together while Kevin tries his best to get stronger. What I have also found is that people either rally around the care giver or do not even care about what is going on with them. There is no in between. It can be a very lonely place to find yourself in. Now, that I have found myself in the care giver role several times over, I have come to realize when others find themselves in that position too. I can spot those people out from a mile away. It's funny, when Kevin was in the operating room this last time I spotted another care giver. She was an older women sitting in the waiting room with her entire family. Everyone was talking around her, and talking to her a little. Yet you could see the look on this woman's face. The look of being surrounded by people she loved, yet feeling very much alone. As I sat there and watched, I knew, without a doubt, she was the one and I had to talk to her. That's right, I was prompted by the Holy Ghost to open my mouth and speak to her. It was interesting to me that the Holy Ghost was prompting me to do this even though I was feeling so overwhelmed myself at the time. I listened to that still, small voice that kept saying, "Sondra, go and sit by that lady over there and talk to her. She needs someone to talk to that knows exactly how she is feeling right now. Go! Don't wait any longer!" Anyway, her and I talked for what seemed like hours. It felt like we were old friends as we talked about what she was there for, what she was dealing with at home, and how she was holding up. It was interesting to me to see an entire family that had no clue what this poor lady was feeling. You see, she not only was dealing with a husband in surgery with a massive tumor being removed from his intestines, but she was the primary care giver to her elderly mother too. Here I was, a complete stranger, and I knew more about this lady than even her own children knew. She felt all alone. She felt like the weight of the world was on her shoulders. What she also felt was relieved that someone else could see what she was going through and asked her how she was doing? How she was holding up? How she would get through it all? Sure, I really couldn't do much to help her in her situation. After all, I was a complete stranger to her. BUT, her burden was somehow lightened that day as the two of us talked. She even came to find me when her husband got out of surgery to let me know how things went. And days later she found me again to let me know her husband was finally going home with her. It was nice to be able to help this dear woman through one of the most difficult times in her life. I felt good that I had taken the time to do what I could to ease her burden and just let her share her experience. It was also therapeutic for me to talk about my own experience too. Besides, isn't this what the Gospel of Jesus Christ is all about? Helping each other along the way. I know in a very small way I did exactly that. But I needed a little coaxing from the Holy Ghost to open my mouth. Today I count this as one of the best things I have ever done. So see, you don't need a formal calling to do things the Lord would do if he could be here. To literally be the Lord's hands here upon the earth. You just need to heed the promptings you receive and then act. It's as simple as that.
Kevin just told me the weather app on his phone says the temperature is going to drop to about 70 degrees by 2 p.m. today! It should be in the 60's this evening too! What a wonderful day this is shaping up to be! I love it when it cools off like this! I just hope our future daughter-in-law is not freezing her bum off in this weather. She said she would be out sleeping in this before she left. EEK! Stay warm Morgan!