Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Thank you, Mel

Thank you, Mel. You have been a great example to me my whole life. Your testimony and love of the scriptures is so beautiful. I have a deep love and gratitude for fasting, too. It is powerful. It is yet another way we give up a tiny bit and the Lord dumps blessings all over us. I have spent the last fiveish months being the recipient of the power of fasting. This week I was finally able to give back a little. I know its power and I will take every opportunity I get for the rest of my life to fast for anyone who needs it. Call me. I'll fast for you.

Our 18-year-old friend Alex has a brain tumor and is at the end of his six-year struggle now and our ward united to fast for him to be able to go peacefully. As you can imagine, I struggle to see him go. Why do I get to live and he doesn't? Luckily, being around him and speaking with his mom brings so much comfort. He is at peace with it and so we can't not be. He has his "peace blanket" that I mentioned in the beginning of my struggle and I can sit outside of it and wonder why and cry or I can grab an edge and climb under it and feel the warmth that comes from knowing Heavenly Father loves each of us so much and will find a way to make us so much happier than we can ever make ourselves if we let Him.

When my dad died almost 13 years ago, my family snuggled under the peace blanket for a long time. I was happy and the testimony that families are forever was handed to me to help me get through it. Sooner or later, however, I climbed out from under the blanket and began to feel ripped-off. It was a choice I made to leave that peace behind and feel sorry for myself, for my mom, for my younger brothers and sister who didn't get to know him as well as I did. For how much of him I never got to know. I got mad that he wouldn't meet my husband or play on the floor with my kids. Now, having just been through something that really was in the Lord's hands as to which way it would go - I understand better His love for me - for each of us. I know that when "bad" things happen, it's usually to bring about something even better. Every member of my family has been through the temple. All of my brothers have served missions. We are married with great kids. We love each other so much. My mom has shown her strength and proven herself and her capacity to endure. Maybe those things would have happened otherwise, who knows? What I do know is that the path the Lord put us on by taking my father when we were as young as we were has strengthened all of us and we are all very happy. We have sad times for sure, but I think we'll be surprised to know how much my dad has remained a part of our lives all along. Our blanket is always there for us to use if we want to feel that.
It's part of me now. I take it wherever I go. If you ever feel sad, come cuddle with me.

I'm so sorry for the pain that Alex and his family must still endure. My very favorite story of Christ is when He wept when Lazarus had died. He understood the plan better than anyone ever could and He still felt pain and sadness at that time. His compassion is overwhelming. He will cry with you, too. And so will I.

9 comments:

Lindsay said...

Shelby, I loved this post. You have an amazing way with words and expressing yourself. Keep writing I love it! Your's is one of my most favorite blogs to check! But I must admit, I feel like a lurker, do you remember who I am?

shel7by said...

Of course I do! You're Darren's wife. Your boy Jameson was the biggest toddler ever. It seems like years since I last saw you guys, but I do remember you. I have lurked on your blog, too.

Carrie said...

WOW Shelby! Each time I read your blog I say, WOW. You sure can express yourself and it pricks my heart. I tear up. Thank you!!

MH72 said...

My heart goes out for your friend Alex and his family...

Anonymous said...

Shelby
Remind me not to read this is work... I sit here with tears rolling down my face... and remember that we all face struggles, some seem so small compared to what you have been through. Someday you will have to tell me more about this snuggle blanket...
Melissa

Katie Price said...

I have often thought about what a bummer it is that I never got to know your dad, or have a father in law. But sometimes I think of my kids getting to hang out with him in heaven before they come, and of him handing them off to us when they're born, and I'm so grateful we have someone on both sides of the veil who love us. I wish I had had the chance to know him, but I swear sometimes I can feel that he loves me and that we will be awesome friends one day.

I feel sad for you guys, and for Alex. That's all I can feel. One day this will all make sense. I love you guys very much, and let him know that he is in our prayers.

I love love love love love you Shel. This is an awesome family to be a part of. I would not change it for anything in the world.

Heidi said...

Shelby, I'm a complete stranger and a blog lurker (friend of your friend Amy) but I wanted to tell you that I've been praying for you the last couple months, and tonight you were an answer to my prayers! We had a "peace blanket" experience (I love that phrase!) three years ago with our son, Bennett. Recently I've let go of the blanket. Your post was truly what I needed to read tonight - thank you for the gentle reminder that the peace is always, always available to us.

Mel Stroud said...

Thank you Shelby, for sharing your blanket. My new thing is crying. I am a weeper. Things touch my heart so much more intensely. I feel emotions running strong, especially since September. I don’t want things to be left unsaid anymore, missed opportunities, lost chances to grow, learn and change. No more wasted time. Thank you for painting us this picture of your life, your challenges and struggles, and your happiness’s and joys. Thanks for making me cry in a good way. Thank you for reminding me of the peace to be found. Those who have left us in this life are waiting for us and rooting for us. Families are Forever.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your testimony. You don't know me, and I don't know you at all, but isn't it funny how sometimes, we just stumble upon something we really needed to hear (read)? Thanks again. -A woman struggling with her testimony-