Things have been pretty interesting (read: difficult) lately. My grandpa got very sick and spent a couple weeks in the hospital. In a pretty serious state, and without any significant improvements, he faced a nursing home for the rest of his life. Instead, he decided to unplug and go home. He passed away the next day.
So, I was in Pleasant Grove for the funeral last week. It was wonderful to be able to think about my grandpa and what kind of a person he was. After the funeral, my family spent the evening at my grandpa’s house looking through a ton of old photo albums of my dad, my grandma, and grandpa, and the rest of us. It was a lot of fun to see my grandparents in their youth.
What I took away from this whole experience was this : I don’t have a single memory of my grandpa ever being angry or upset or disappointed with me, or short-tempered, or exasperated. (which isn’t to say he never felt those things). He was the most accepting and kind-hearted person I have ever met. I know you can say nice things about people, and we tend to exaggerate, but my grandpa was really the best person I’ve ever known. He was a quiet, humble, funny little man (he was shorter than my own 5’2″). He was genuinely accepting of everyone he met. He made everyone feel loved. I want to be a better person, and becoming more like him is a big step in the right direction.
The day I flew home was kind of miserable and by the time I got into the airport at 11pm and was riding the shuttle out to extended parking, I was just about done in. I was finally all alone and I sat in my car and had a good cry – a healthy thing that is all too rare for me. I went to turn on my car (still crying) and the battery was dead. And it was just one thing too many. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t deal with that, too.
I thought of all those miraculous prayer/car stories. So I prayed and I said, “I really can’t do this right now. Please make it work.” over and over and over. I went to turn on the car, and it still didn’t work. And I wondered why these miracles never seem to happen to me. And I cried some more.
The spirit told me to call my mom. So I called my mom. She told me I should call my dad. So I hung up and cried and then called my dad. My dad was extraordinarily kind and helpful – he calmed me down and we talked about what I could do. So I hung up and got out of the car. I was prepared for an hour-long ordeal to track somebody down from airport parking services to come jump my car, but I ran into someone right away in the lot, and he radioed someone else, and my car was jumped and ready to go in about 10 minutes.
I had been lamenting that I didn’t feel able to turn to my parents for help. I was emotionally overwrought and I didn’t feel like I could do it. And the Lord showed me some important things: 1) look! you can turn to your parents for help and they will be good at it. 2) you can do it because I am helping you. and 3) it is okay to feel feelings, even in the middle of having to do other things that just have to be done.
I hear people’s experiences of the Lord just taking care of things for them and I’ve wanted to be able to just give up and say “I can’t do it. Please do it, Lord.” and have Him do it for me, too. It’s even seemed like the better way, since I feel like I’m always trying to do everything on my own. But I’m learning more and more that the Lord doesn’t want us to just give up and let Him do things for us. He wants us to keep trying and let Him do things for us. And He will.
I feel a little lost. I wasn’t ready yet for my grandpa to leave – he was a respite – safe, kind, loving, supporting – always. Still, I can do it. I can keep on going, and I don’t have to just power through all the time. Being strong is not the most important thing. Better to be at peace and consequently strengthened through the Lord. I’m writing this so I won’t forget that lesson – it’s one I think we all need and tend to forget.