The Passing From This Life
It is hard to believe we are halfway through April!! We were having beautiful weather here in Provo, until last night and today!! Someone must have tattled on us, because we saw it to go from the high 70's to 30's over night. That explains a lot as to why my legs have not been happy; and after I had such a great day on Wednesday I was able to walk around the Dollar Store for an HOUR!! I know the warm weather will return. I just have to remember, "and this too shall pass."
Last week was an interesting week. I attended the funeral of a very sweet lady named Joan Hofheins. I first met her a year ago last December. She saw me at church and stopped me and told me how she admired me for being at church every Sunday. I simply told her Satan and destroyed my family and he tried to do the same thing to me for many years and I realized I needed to be in church every Sunday. No matter how hard it is, I go. She gave a small gift and said "Bless You"
In January 2013 we all switched schedules at our chapel, and we were on the late schedule and she was on the early schedule. But often times she came with her son and daughter in law to our service. Every Sunday when she was there and saw me she would wave and smile. Sometimes she would hobble along the bench and come over and put her arms around me and say, "I love you so much." When she wasn't at church I worried about her. So when I heard of her passing, my first thought was the sadness of losing a friend. It was someone I didn't even know that well, but I loved her spirit, her kindness and her love. It radiated from her. However, another friends said, "It is not sadness, this is a celebration of life!! Her journey here is finished."
When I read her obituary I was totally amazed at some of the things she had done in her life. She has been awarded the Silver Beaver Award with the Boy Scouts. I have heard of the award, but it is not one that is handed out regularly. She worked with the scouts for many many years helping to prepare them for their Eagle Scout and life's mission. I also learned she offered free piano lessons to the children in her neighborhood. Their only payment was to do an hour of service in return. There were also many miracles in her life like when she was a young child and had pneumonia. In those days you had to be in an Oxygen tent. They did not expect her to live, but with a blessing from the Priesthood she did and went on to live a full packed life.
I arrived at the chapel at 10:20 (the funeral starting at 11) expecting it to begin to be full. I was wrong. The parking lot was packed!! When I made it into the chapel 3/4 of the middle section was reserved for the family, and during the seating some sat on the stand. The entire chapel, over flow and part of the cultural hall was packed to the rafters. She had 10 children in total and several of them spoke. One gave a life sketch, others talked of her spiritual side, her nurturing side, her humorous side.
One son spoke of his having to return home from his mission early due to health problems he began having. He spoke fondly of his mother of taking care of him for the next year and to help bring him back to a normalcy in life. He married and had a family, only to have his health issues to return. My heart went out to this man. One spoke of how his mother came and took care of his wife when she encountered health issues. They had formed a special bond on their time here on earth. The service she had given to so many showed.
I knew I was doomed when we began to sing the opening song "There is Sunshine in My Soul." The power of the voices singing this song brought me to tears. I could tell the love these people all had for their mother, grandmother, great grandmother, friend and sister. By the start of the second verse I managed to squeak a few words out. My squeaks were nothing compared to those who raised their voices that day in song. This must be what it is like in Heaven I thought.
I have been thinking about Sister Hofheins and her passing all week. I think most people think you are born, you live, you die, and then you are out of here. There is often much mourning, but for Sister Hofheins this was indeed a celebration of life, not an end. Not they we will all not miss her, but I know this is just part of the life cycle.
Sometimes we forget, because we are simply mortals here on this earth and don't remember all we had before we came. I know that because I have had too many experiences to believe anything else. As I was contemplating that life circle my thoughts immediately went to Easter and the upcoming activities and celebrations
I have suffered much pain in my life, most in my heart. I have not had alot of the physical pain--until now. Sometimes it is hard. But every time I wonder if I can take another step or go another day I only have to think of what Christ went through for me. I know the pain I go through is NOTHING compared to what He did. And I know if He could handle the pain so could I, because He did that for me. I think of the betrayals, more pain but a different kind, it reminds me of my own life and the hurtful and painful things that were said and done to me. When I began to connect to family members, I heard the stories and it saddened me, and yes I felt betrayed by those who were supposed to love me and I was entrusted to. You hear a story once you dismiss it; a second time it makes you wonder; a third time brings on a whole other form of "pain." Forgiveness and those that have betrayed you. Sometimes I think that is harder than any other pain to go through, but know it is possible and worth it when you can overcome it.
Through all the pain there is also joy and I think of His resurrection, the opened tomb and He is gone. That for me is the greatest of the joys. To know we all have Eternal Life because of this and one day all the hurt and pain we have on this earth will be no more.
Yesterday at church I watched a young baby named Violet play during Relief Society. I love her little personality that is coming about and the fact that she is beginning to recognize me. She sees me and smiles and it melts my heart. I asked Violet if she was ready for a visitor this week. She smiled but her mom looked at me like "Do you know something I don't know?" I asked Violet if the Easter Bunny was coming and she grinned. Her mom said, "Oh I need to think about that." I love the Easter Bunny the same reason I love Santa, it's not about the presents or how much you get, but about the love and the giving.
I believe there is room for both in our holidays. I often think of Matthew 25:40 "And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." I do not believe you can do something for someone without some kind of love for them. I love doing things for others, and maybe it is because of a love for them, but I also know it is because of that love for Christ. That is what I center my life around service to help me get over all the heartache and pain. It may be selfish on my part, but it is helping me get to where I want to go. I can't do it with a hardened and painful heart and this is the only way I know to do away with the pain.
I love this time of year and the reflection it brings. I adored Sister Hofheins and her cute smile and radiant love. As much as I loved her, I also have come to have a great love for Violet. She is on a different end of the life sphere than Joan but she still brings me such joy every Sunday when I get to see her.
I hope this week we remember those who have passed on and the joy they brought into our lives. It is the celebration of this time of the year that one day will bring us all together again. Even with all my hurt and pain I can find good things with my Mom and Dad and others. My Dad used to take me fishing and having fishing contests with him and let me win. When we were younger my mom was very dedicated to her children. The hours she spent making cookies for our classes amazes me today. My grandfather Poppy, when I saw a picture of him in all smiles, I saw just a bit of joy he had while he was here. Such a hard life, but that picture made all the harder memories vanish and I felt a love for him like I never did.
I know there is more to life than what we have here, and it all comes becomes of the atonement and resurrection we celebrate at this time of the year. I have also realized it is okay to play "Easter Bunny" and thank others for the service they always seem to do.
Happy Easter everyone!! Love Laura