Is the Resurrection Enough?

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Today marks one year since David died. I’ve had a lot of time to think, to be sad, to get angry, and to ask questions, and I’ve done all of that, and I still do. One particular time when I went through all of these stands out to me.

I had recently seen a story on Facebook from someone whose husband experienced a medical emergency. He got a blessing in the hospital, things started going well, and he got better. The wife wrote that she knew it was the priesthood working. Later that day, I was driving home from the store by myself and I got angry. Here was this person who got a blessing, a miracle happened, and he got better. David got a blessing too, and he died. You might be tempted to come up with some way David, or we, experienced a miracle, but the fact is he died. A miracle preventing that didn’t happen, and everything that came after it wouldn’t have been needed if he hadn’t died. That’s simply the reality.

As I sat in the car, asking where my miracle was, the thought came to me, “is one enough? Is the resurrection enough?” I fought back, “that’s not fair, everyone gets that.” But the question persisted, “is it enough?”

So, I asked myself, “is it? Some people get other miracles that we, or David, didn’t get, but can it be enough for me that we get the resurrection? Can it be enough that Christ came and died, and somehow rose from the dead? That he did what had never been done before: he put an end to the expanse of death, and made it possible for us, too? Is it enough that he put an end to endings?”

I found that even in the middle of that bitter moment I felt a ray of hope, and could say “yes, I can accept it as enough.”

This past year has been hard, and it will continue to be hard; I’ll be sad, and angry, and ask questions. But, I believe the resurrection is enough. It will be enough to carry me through till the end, when, as C.S. Lewis described it, death itself starts working backward, and the end will be the beginning.

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Why Seek Ye the Living Among the Dead?

13029623_10153550580687217_1319806388177891403_oAs my family and I have struggled through the past week and a half, dealing with the death of my missionary brother, I thought of a study abroad I spent in the Middle East: while there, my class and I visited the Garden Tomb, where each of us took the time to walk up to the tomb, step in, and look around. We all knew there was nothing in the tomb, but felt compelled to look inside.

This reminded me of several verses in John 20, where Mary Magdalene visited Christ’s tomb and found the stone removed and the tomb empty, and ran to tell Peter and John. The three of them ran back to the tomb, where John looked into the tomb, and then Peter followed, “and went into the sepulcher, and seeth the linen clothes lie…then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre.” After they left, Mary Magdalene returned, “and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre.” Each of these three people felt the need to look into the tomb, and see for themselves that it was empty, just like I, and each of my classmates, felt compelled to look into the tomb, as though we, like Peter, John, and Mary, needed to make sure it was truly empty.

As I thought about these verses, and my time at the Garden Tomb, I remembered one of my favorite lines from the Bible, which is in Luke 24:5-6: Mary Magdalene and other women came to the tomb and found it empty, and as they stood, confused, they saw two angels, who asked them, “Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen.”

As I’ve thought about these two scriptures; Peter, John, and Mary each looking into the tomb, and the angels announcing that Christ was not among the dead, I have found my testimony. Each of us feels the need to find out for ourselves if the tomb is empty, and in some of my darkest, loneliest hours I have looked into Christ’s tomb, and found it empty. Because of this I don’t have to look for my brother among the dead. While I struggle with the grief that comes from his death, and it sometimes feels like a dark wave washing over me and trying to pull me out to sea, my belief that Christ rose from the dead and will raise my brother anchors me when I feel the relentless pull of my grief, and lights my path as I walk through this valley of the shadow of death. Because Christ left his tomb empty, my brother’s future does not end with death, and I look to the day when I will see him again, alive and well.

A Blessed Day

I’ve had people tell me to “have a blessed day,” before, and I’ve always loved the phrase, but felt awkward using it myself, because it always seemed to come from people with a southern accent, so I thought I’d be pretending to be something I wasn’t (southern) by using it. However, yesterday I had an experience that made me rethink that opinion.

W and I went to the local farmers market: I love it, and we go every week. Yesterday, while I was buying something, W managed to get his fat little fingers into (literally) a very large, expensive, fancy looking heirloom tomato, and then dropped it on the ground, squishing one side (at least, that’s what I could deduce). I turned back around, to see him sitting innocently in his stroller, but with the squished and torn tomato on the table next to him. I picked it up and told him now we needed to buy it. As I was telling him this, a lovely woman said (without a southern accent), “oh, I’ll buy it, I like tomato” (somehow she must have sensed I’m not a tomato lover).

I responded, “really?”

She took the tomato from me and said, “yes. Have a blessed day.”

I was too surprised to say much except, “you too.”

As I walked away she said to me, “it’ll remind me of my grandchildren who are in the mid-west.”

So there you have it, the phrase, “have a blessed day” isn’t just a southern thing. And I’ve had so many people say it to me while doing nice things for me I feel like I really ought to pass it on–both the nice things and the phrase.

So everyone, I encourage you to do something nice for someone else (especially if it’s helping them when their little dumpling has done something naughty) and tell them to have a blessed day–if you think about it, by helping them, you are making sure they have a blessed day. 🙂

Finding God in Applesauce and Naps

I mentioned before that “W” was teething this week. It was pretty bad: one day in particular I couldn’t get him to nap or eat anything (other than nursing) and I was getting really worried. As I was trying to get him to sleep at nap time I felt really overwhelmed and incompetent. As I was sitting with him I remembered a blessing my Dad had given to me when “W” was just a few months old. In it he had blessed me to “know what to do” for “W.” When I remembered that I started to pray, asking over and over that I would know what to do for him. The impression came to try something we had done to help “W” get to sleep when he was much smaller, but it had stopped working a month or two earlier. I tried it, and a few minutes later “W” was ready to take a nap. It was amazing.

Later, after “W” woke up, and I was worrying over getting him to eat, I said the same prayer, asking to know what to do for him. The thought came, “try applesauce.” Now, I had tried applesauce on him several times recently, and he would never eat it, so it didn’t really make sense. But I decided to try it again, so I got him some apple sauce, and he ate it! Applesauce, cheerios, oat cereal, and water are pretty much all he’s eaten the past few days, but it’s something!

Naps and eating, two such normal, unimpressive things, but they make a world of difference. It was comforting for me this week to have the blessing I was given be fulfilled and my prayers answered, multiple times, in an interconnected way. It made me think of one of my favorite scriptures (and part of the inspiration for this blog): 1 Kings 19:11-12

“11. And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake:

12. And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.”

We don’t have to have big, impressive things happen to see God in our lives, so often it is in the small, normal things, the things that we can count on happening to us, that we find him, like knowing how to get a baby to take a nap and eat some applesauce.

Five Normal Happy Things in My Life

Not gonna lie folks, today was a rough day, and teething nearly got the better of me and “W.” However, there were bright spots throughout the day, and as I was thinking about it I realized there are certain things I can almost always count on being a good part of my day. They’re all little, “normal” things, but they make me happy.

1. “W” almost always does something funny. Today it was carrying things in his mouth so he could have his hands free to move himself around. The best one was probably when he was holding a paper towel roll (just the inside) in his mouth, he looked just like a dog with a bone.

2. Food. I like food, a lot. Today I made bread using a new recipe. It only had to raise once and didn’t have to be kneaded at all. It was amazing. I even managed to do everything, including grease the pans, while holding “W” with one arm. Now I have homemade bread to eat! I also opened a new package of peeps (you know, those bits of marshmallow joy). It was wonderful: they were so soft and squishy, and fun to eat. I’ll be sad when they’re gone and I have to wait a year to have them again (because the nasty flavored ones they sell during other holidays are an affront to mankind).

3. I have a husband who is more patient and caring than the day is long (good thing too, since it has to last all day). This morning at 5:30 (“W” woke up at 4:30 and I finally got him up around 5:00), he heard me crying over changing “W” and came and told me to go back to bed and he’d take over, even though he’d taken him the morning before too.

4. Good movies and books. Today I started rewatching The Fellowship of the Rings. Those movies are the best–I compare everything else to them. However, it’s extremely discouraging to me that the guy who plays Aragorn looks totally stoned in real life. It’s true! I just need to stop looking up actors and actresses, it ruins things for me. Like, did you know Sean Bean is on his fourth wife? For. Reals. Thanks Wikipedia.

5. A nicely made bed. I love making beds, it makes me feel like I’ve really accomplished something to look at a bed with all the sheets tucked in nice and tight, the pillows in a nice, plump, even row, with the quilt pulled up over everything nice and evenly, and the bankets folded perfectly at the end of the bed. I love it!

There, those are things that happen to me or that I do something with pretty much every day, and I’m so glad they do!

Shouldn’t Normal be Easy?

I was about half-way through the day today, and I was thinking, “gee, I have nothing to blog about.” I mean, sure, this blog is about my normal life, but no one wants to read a list of what I ate for breakfast (since I’m not a food blogger). Finally, I pulled myself together and decided we should go to the library. I had a few books to return, and there’s never a bad time to pick up a few new books.

So, I squashed “W” into his carseat and toted him out to our super slinky van. I started driving away and thought, “gee, it sounds like I’m driving a boat.” But it wasn’t till I was out of the parking lot and on the road that I thought there must really be something wrong. I thought I should pull over when I got to the next grocery store, but as it approached I thought, “naw.” But just before I passed it I changed my mind and decided if something was nagging at me I might as well stop and take a quick look. I pulled into the parking lot and jumped out to look at the tires. Sure enough! The  back passenger-side wheel was blown out. Woot, woot! Way to heed a prompting!

Happily, we have AAA so I called them up and they sent someone out to change the tire. In the meantime, “W” and I popped into the grocery store where I bought myself a package of mint Milanos and bought “W” a package of peach puffs. Then we sat in the entrance and “W” flirted shamelessly with everyone that walked in or out.

By the time the person came to change the tire we were both getting a little tired, so we sat in the car and snacked. Finally we made it home, just in time to put “W” down for a nap.

I guess getting a flat tire is normal, but it seems like normal should feel a little easier and more natural. I’m sure glad I stopped to check in the grocery store parking lot though, rather than getting stuck on the side of a busy road. I guess God knew we’d need those cookies and peach puffs to get through it with a smile.

Spring Walks and Lost Socks

Today the weather was beautiful! It seems Spring is finally moving in and setting up camp here in upstate New York (can I get a hallelujah!?). I took my little rascal on a long walk outside. He’s teething and the only things that make him really happy right now are Cheerios and walks. We walked to the little park near us and I held him on the swing for a little, then we kept walking along the little wilderness trail that leads to the big park in the center of town. “W” enjoyed the walk, especially watching the little stream and the people who walked by. As he looked around I walked and called my Dad to talk life insurance.

We turned around and headed back once “W” started getting wiggly (and I was definitely feeling tired). We were almost back to the apartment when I discovered that somewhere along the way we had lost both baby socks. Good thing they were from Walmart! There was no way I was going back to look for them. Hopefully some small woodland creature enjoys them.

We got back and I began to wonder if I was having some sort of heart attack–my entire upper chest really hurt, but after I didn’t die I decided it must be a combination of being terribly out of shape and carrying a ridiculously large baby around for a walk (no stroller for a teething baby, oh, no!).

I loved the chance to get outside though. I noticed what looked like some kind of tulips or daffodils pushing their way up through the dirt. I almost always find myself thinking of God when I’m outside, and how glad I am he created such a beautiful world, and I wonder if he finds joy in the individual flowers, trees, and funny little squirrels the same way I do.

Just a little glimpse into the highs and lows of my normal Mormon life: a beautiful spring day, a chubby baby, teething, and lost socks.