Tuesday, May 26, 2009

It Matters to Me

On Sunday while I was setting up the primary room I had the speakers on so I could listen to the Bishopric's announcements. I heard a familiar name in reference to a funeral that will be at the church on Wednesday morning.
And so it begins....
My reflections about my life. What would be written in my obituary? What would my friends and loved ones whisper about me to each other? What would my family find in my drawers or journal that I wouldn't want them reading? What will be the lasting memories each person has of me?
I know that I've come a long, long, long, long way from where I used to be. I used to be a rebel, rule breaker, flighty, shallow, angry, selfish, in my own world.
I hope that the changes I've made make it up to those I've hurt. I hope that I will never be remembered for those things.
When Brenda in our ward died, I went to her funeral. She'd had a battle with brain cancer. At the end of her treatment she'd accepted Christ into her life and was baptized. I was so in awe at what a beautiful person she was inside. She was beautiful on the outside as well, but at her funeral, the things that were said about her showed her inner beauty in everything everyone said. It was inspiring. I wanted to be just like her. Loving and accepting of people all around her. They knew of her love for them, she never hid it. That's something I've always struggled with (except for my kids) is showing people how much I love and appreciate them and am thankful they are in my life, and thankful for the acceptance they give me.
When Ed in our ward died, another cancer victim, I went to his funeral. I also left wanting to be like him. He was never afraid to be friendly to anyone, especially the young men in our church, he was involved in the scouting, taking the boys hiking, canoeing. He was a father figure to so many of them. His love was genuine and gentle. They never doubted his love for them. His sons were the envy of many a boy. His love for the Savior was even stronger and he was not afraid to share that with others. Missionary in word and deed. I wanted to be like him too when I left. Loving the youth, loving the Savior, not being afraid to share it.
My friend Julie died last June. I also went to her funeral. What a tribute to a beautiful woman. She was virtuous, lovely, praiseworthy. She struggled to know her Savior. She sought Him out and a young age and "never let go". I quote that from the lyrics of a song written as a tribute to her, at the time of her death. She was selfless, sharing, giving, loving, kind, gentle.... many of the qualities that our Savior has were reflected in her countenance. I left wanting to be like her. She died trying to save the life of another. Her song still brings tears to my eyes every time I hear it.
click here to see a video our friend made with our images of her.

I'm thankful for people who have left examples to follow. I hope that I learn from them and improve my life and those around me by trying to follow their examples. I hope that someday what is said at my funeral, or on my gravestone will reflect that.

Y o u D i d n ’ t L e t G o -by Joel Hanson (Julie's Song)

You were born in the city but that was not home
You were made for the country and dusty dirt roads
You longed for the places where wild flowers grow

Even when you were little you knew there was more
To life than just living, it was there in your core
You heard about Jesus and knew he was yours

You took His hand and you didn’t let go
You let Him take you down the hardest roads
Though it wasn’t easy you never said “no”
You took His hand and you didn’t let go

When you went off to college you were the one
Who went to the parties but stuck to your guns
And walked your friends home after they’d had too much

You were pretty and blue-eyed but all the boys knew
There were lines in the sand they could not cross with you
And it made some nights lonely but you made it through

You took His hand and you didn’t let go
You let Him take you down the hardest roads
Though it wasn’t easy you never said “no”
You took His hand and you didn’t let go

Some called you stubborn, feisty and hard
But you were driven to live out what was there in your heart
And sometimes your decisions meant you had to stand alone
But when it came to loving it was there in your bones

So that day in the river when that young girl slipped
You reached out and grabbed her and held to her wrist
And as you lost to the current you never loosened your grip

You took her hand and you didn’t let go
You let her take you down the hardest road
Though it was not easy you never said “no”
You took her hand and you didn’t let go
You took her hand and you didn’t let go


Ginabear said...

OMG Jen!! You have sooo many people that love you! You inspire so many and make people feel so beautiful through your photography. I know your life has been a rough road but as long as I've known you, you have always tried to be a good person. Even when you make mistakes, you come back even stronger. I know in my case, this world wouldnt be the same without you! I am amazed and inspired by you often! You are suchh a good example to me and I know to those around you! Your kids are soo lucky to have a mom like you! You are an incredible woman, mother, wife and to me, one of the best friends I've ever had!!

Anonymous said...

I never told you this but for me I look at you as a role model. I see that you are such a wonderful mother and friend. I try to be better because I see the wonderful person that you are. You are such an amazing person with such a big heart. You are so willing to listen or help in any way you can. Your children are so blessed to have you as a mom. Take it from someone who has seen more than they should have but you are an incredible person and I am so proud to call you my friend.