Saturday, April 27, 2013

Keep Thou My Feet

"Life is what happens when you're making other plans..."

I had plans. 
Robert and I had plans.
We were going, play with grandkids, spend time with our kids and grandkids, and maybe in a few years we would retire and serve a mission. Where would we go? It was all so fun and exciting. I love having plans. It's true, I'm a planner.

Now Robert's gone. Now what? What was my plan? I felt I had walked to the edge of the light...but I was staring off into darkness. So, I did what any good planner would do: I made immediate plans.

Lead, kindly light amid the encircling gloom;
Lead Thou me on!
The night is dark and I am far from home;
Lead thou me on!

I went back to school. I felt it was important and found an opportunity that suited me. I kept the plan to serve a mission after retirement. I tried to replace the happy mental pictures of Robert and I serving together, knowing that even serving alone would still be a happy endeavor. Still, the path between now and then seemed a little forlorn. Retirement is a few years off. I just couldn't picture in my head what the intervening years looked like. It's easy to make plans with someone, thinking of fun and happy times along the path. But this new plan, well....really, what fun and happy times were there going to be? 

I prayed to know what to do. Was I making the right plans? Was I being wise here? Or there? Like an actress on a stage, I needed motivation. I needed to see just far enough ahead to feel confident that moving ahead in a certain direction was the right thing. Part of finding joy in the journey is knowing you're on the right path, no matter what briars and brambles are thrown in the way.

Keep Thou my feet; 
I do not ask to see the distant scene--
One step enough for me.

And I kept going. That's the other part of finding joy in the journey...not giving up. Joy is around the corner, this I know. (well....sometimes joy is under a rock and you have to move the rock to find it).

The Lord heard my queries and answered in a sweet and inviting way. The light shone not just on the closest steps along the path, but a ways up the road as well. I see and understand where I'm going now. I'm still open to inspiration and possibilities, but for now, my feet are standing on the right path. I can still play with grandkids, do a little traveling, and make plans long into the future. It's possible things will change, but I've learned that the Lord holds His lantern high, so I can see just far enough ahead to keep walking no matter where I am.

So long thy power hath blest me, sure it still
Will lead me on 
O'er moor and fen, o'er crag and torrent, till
The night is gone.
And with the morn those angel faces smile,
Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile.

Isn't that like the Lords plan? He sends us here to earth? He gives us all we need to succeed. We know enough for now to move elong our earth-life path and be joyful along the way.  

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


God's timing is amazing. I know, we shouldn't be surprised..and I'm not, I'm just sharing an observation.

About a year ago, in fact it may have been last Easter Sunday, I'm not sure, I was privileged to lead the discussion in our women's class at church. The topic was "The Immortality of the Soul". A few days later, Robert would undergo surgery which we hoped would extend his life, and as I read the lesson material, I felt the message sink deep into my soul in a way that rarely happens. One quote stood out to me: "eternity doesn’t begin after this life but that mortality is a crucial part of eternity"- (George Albert Smith). I commented to the ladies in our group that with the 'reality if mortality' staring me (us) in the face, I felt a huge sense of comfort in this understanding. Whatever we were about to face was dwarfed by the Savior's immense love for us. I believe God's timing- that I would lead this discussion at such a time in my life, was not an accident. God meant for it to happen to remind me of precious truths: To know that life is eternal is a wonderful blessing. This idea is not foreign to us; William Wordsworth wrote:

"Our birth is but a sleep, and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star,
hath had elsewhere it's setting
and cometh from afar."

Our journey on this earth is filled with darkness and light, health and sickness, pleasure and pain, happiness and sadness. We cannot experience or appreciate one without having an understanding of the other. The tiny bright green buds on a tree seems to glow after the darkest of winters. So it is with life. Easter reminds us of that. And not just the Welcome Spring part of Easter, though that is part if it, but the real Story of Easter. (I do not have poetic language for this, it is a simple truth, so I say it simply) Jesus Christ lived, died and rose again on the third day, and because He did so, we too will rise again. He lives! George Albert Smith said, "The Saviour’s righteous life is a perfect example to all, and His resurrection was the first assurance to humanity that we, too, shall come forth from the tomb."

I marvel that he would descend from his throne divine
To rescue a soul so rebellious and proud as mine,
That he should extend his great love unto such as I,
Sufficient to own, to redeem, and to justify.

I found some pictures from last Easter, all the grandchildren (and children- thats a crowd!), gathered in our back yard, playing egg toss games, laughing and smiling. How precious and Sacred the time we have together on earth is! This Easter we gathered again, playing games, laughing, smiling. There were not as many of us this year...some have moved away, too far to join us for a day and, well, Robert was gone. But when I think about the eternal plan, the sadness is lessened. When I think of the love and sacrifice of my Savior, I am overcome. I know what sorrow and pain feels like. Christ does too, for He suffered mine, and everyone else's. He did this just so our eternal lives could continue. That's amazing to me!

I think of his hands pierced and bleeding to pay the debt!
Such mercy, such love and devotion can I forget?
No, no, I will praise and adore at the mercy seat,
Until at the glorified throne I kneel at his feet.
Oh, it is wonderful that he should care for me enough to die for me!
Oh, it is wonderful! Wonderful to me!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, April 1, 2013

The Lonely Hearts Club

Valentines Day

I knew it would be hard. I prepared for it- made plans to keep busy and serve others, but it was still hard to hear and see the Valentine greetings of others who had spouses or partners who would be available for sweet moments later on. Lets face it, going home to my sweet little dog just isn't the same. The bottom line is, I miss Robert, something fierce.

Now you understand that I have spent Valentines Day alone before. My divorce was finalized on Valentines Day years ago. (Its the Lord's way with me- He knows I have a sense of humor). There are those who would say, "go find someone to be with on Valentines Day," but that is not me. It can't be just anyone, and I'm stubborn besides (a Zehrbach trait if ever there was one), I just want MY own sweetheart.

So my day began with a more earnest than usual prayer, but, as I have learned I did not ask for things, I gave thanks. Thanks for a beloved companion who loved me in a way I had never understood possible. And for temple covenants, that bind is together eternally, and make possible a glorious reunion. Thanks for my Savior, who sacrificed all to provide an infinite atonement, by whose power and grace all things are possible. Thanks for sweet friends and family, who are here on earth and who bring Joy to my life. Thanks for my understanding of the Gospel plan, which gives me hope and peace. And finally, thanks for the opportunity to offer some kind of service and love to another this day, and lift them as Robert would have, so that I might feel closer to him.

"Savior, Redeemer of my Soul,
Whose mighty hand hath made me whole,
Who'se wondrous power hath raised me up
and filled with sweet my bitter cup.
What tongue my gratitude can tell,
O Gracious God of Israel."

So that was my prayer as I left the house that morning. And as I did, I noticed that the gratitude in my heart made me smile. I began to feel happier, less alone. I discovered that I was still a bit jealous of others with their sweethearts,but the good feelings returned as soon as I sent valentine wishes to ALL my children (and some spouses), and that kept things moving along.

Sure, there were still tough a text message from a friend saying, "we're sure Robert is nearby" - and really, that was still a sort of happy sad moment. But by the end of the day, I felt so peaceful and happy, even those things didn't make me cry. As day drew to a close, I looked back, trying to learn from the experience. The more I thought of others, the better I felt. The more I gave thanks for the blessings I had, even blessings that came as a result of hard things, the more aware I became of the needs of others, and as I tried to serve others, the more I felt Heavenly Father's love. Thinking of Robert and our beautiful life together only made me smile. I know we will be together again. This short time apart will feel like nothing then. But what I DO in this short time apart- that will make all the difference in how we do feel then.

"O'errule mine acts to serve thine ends.
Change frowning foes to smiling friends.
Chasten my soul till I shall be
In perfect harmony with thee.
Make me more worthy of thy love
And fit me for the life above."

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad