16 May 2018

The Envelope

It started with an envelope.

Yesterday, after we had played several board games, my Kindergartner granddaughter Paige was looking through the various kinds of paper in my craft box, intending to draw or write something during her after-school visit with me. She found a greeting card envelope, selected a piece of yellow card stock, and told me she wanted to make a card for “Grampa.”  

Grampa, aka my late husband, passed away when Paige was not yet three years old. I doubt she can really remember him, but on my kitchen counter are two digital photo frames that scroll through family photos including many of him, some even with her as a baby or toddler. When Paige is eating her after-school snack, she looks at those photos, and often either names some of the people in them, or asks me who they are. Some are of my parents and grandparents, and I have on occasion mentioned that they, like Grampa, have died, and are happily living in Heaven now. Whether seeing photos of Grampa keeps real memories of him fresh in her mind, or that she just continues to love her idea of him, I know not.

12 July 2017

Staying in the Lane

As I was driving to the Seattle temple by myself for the first time after my arrival in Washington last month, I began to feel very sad that David, my late husband, was not beside me. I felt I had made great progress in the last few months in usually remembering him happily, but at this moment, thinking about how, long ago, he had carefully given me the driving directions I was now carefully following brought tears to my eyes.

Suddenly, my mood completely changed. My mind was flooded with joy as that memory from a decade ago came forcefully into focus. I recalled David’s voice repeating to me the important advice I needed to follow if I was to arrive at the temple on time, “Stay in the lane, Rosalie!” It now struck me in a new way that I knew could help me deal with the waves of sorrow that still threaten to engulf me from time to time.

07 December 2016

An Answered Cri de Coeur

The anguished cries of my three-year-old grandson, combined with a statement by Dostoyevsky and hymn lyrics by Isaac Watts, prompted me to ponder how we can discover and attain our deepest desires. 

While visiting the family of our youngest son some years ago, the adults in our group were startled one evening by the sudden, impassioned crying of our three-and-a-half-year-old grandson, David. He was apparently having a nightmare. Our daughter-in-law attempted to calm him with soft words and rocking, but he continued to cry out and talk nonsense which related to what he was dreaming.

She carried him downstairs to join the rest of us, and mentioned that this sort of thing had happened before. Once David was fully awake, she assured us, he would calm down. For a couple of minutes he continued to wail and display deep distress, despite his mother’s efforts to awaken and reassure him.

26 July 2016

No Looking Back

A little over nine years ago, my oldest son and I exchanged good-bye waves and smiled at each other as he backed out of our driveway for the last time. My husband and I had sold our house, and were moving out of state to live nearer our grandchildren.

As he drove off, my son’s head was held high, and he didn’t look back.

He had recently been laid off from his job; but he was now excited about beginning a new career as a writer. Despite the known difficulties of breaking into the ranks of literary professionals, his success in getting several stories published during the last few years spurred him to consider the loss of his increasingly joyless job as an opportunity to jump wholeheartedly into that other field. With concerted effort, determination and a bit of luck, he was hopeful that he would soon be able to make his living doing what he truly loved to do.

As I watched his car disappear around a bend, the tears began to flow, and my mind went back to another farewell experience that had occurred when he was nineteen:

22 July 2016

Building Bridges rather than Walls

About ten years ago, I received very positive audience response to a talk I gave in church, probably because it dealt with situations most people could identify with. I recently ran across a Word document that contains the post I subsequently wrote for this blog containing the substance of that talk.  For some unknown reason, the original post seems to have disappeared. So here it is again:

What are some of the things that prevent us from achieving more harmony in our adult family relationships? Selfishness and pride are often the culprits. But many times, I think it is misunderstandings that promote strife, hurt feelings and alienation. We all have different personalities, and we see things from different perspectives. We can't always find the right words to express our feelings; and sometimes we let the emotion of the moment lead us to say things we don't really mean, and immediately regret. If left unresolved, misunderstandings in the family can foster mounting stress, anger, and resentment, and may prevent us from enjoying the trust and confidence of those we love most.

I’ve heard it said that when faced with difficulties in a relationship, we can choose to build either walls, or bridges. A few years ago I had an experience with one of our adult children which taught me how useful bridge-building can be in uncovering and resolving misunderstandings.

07 September 2015

Maintaining Trust When God’s Ways Seem Inscrutable, Part 2: Reflection vs. Reality

“For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” I Corinthians 13:12 

In the verse above, from a letter the apostle Paul wrote to the relatively new church members in Corinth, he used an analogy that was particularly meaningful to them when he described how we  understand God and his ways. That analogy becomes clearer for 21st century English speakers if we know that the words translated into English as “glass” and “darkly” have slightly different meanings in the original Greek. “Glass” meant a looking-glass, or mirror, many of which were manufactured in Corinth out of polished brass. Those mirrors often revealed a distorted or discolored image of the thing being reflected. The Greek words translated as “darkly” meant “in a riddle or puzzle, by an enigma.”[1]  Paul’s analogy helped the Corinthians resolve questions that were creating disunity in their congregation. I believe it can help us, in our day, to deal with questions about spiritual matters that some find puzzling, or even disquieting.

Maintaining Trust When God’s Ways Seem Inscrutable, Part 1: Understanding the Meaning of Revelations

While a student at Brigham Young University, my husband had a very intriguing personal experience with President Hugh B. Brown (an apostle and a counselor in the First Presidency of the LDS church at the time), his wife, and one of their granddaughters who was a good friend of David’s. The four of them had lunch together in a restaurant in Salt Lake City sometime in 1963 or 1964.

Considering himself a lowly university student, David remembered feeling very much in awe of President Brown. One part of the conversation in particular stuck in his mind, and he told me about it after we were married in 1966, because it raised such interesting questions and possibilities regarding the policy of Priesthood ordination not being available to men of black African ancestry at the time.