Monday, 13 January 2014

Before and After

I've been thinking a lot lately about life changing events that people have in their lives. For me, the most individual life changing event was the passing of my mom. It seems like life changes into two sections, before and after. It really has been like living two different lives. A lot of the people are still the same, but in one instant your life changes and it never returns to the previous normal. And the interesting part is that this event has had profound impact on your life but everything and everyone else is continuing on as if nothing ever happened.

I remember the day my mom passed away I wondered, shouldn't it a least be raining or something? Where are all of these people that are driving on the road going? Are they still going to work? Don't they know that something huge has happened? Why are stores still open? Why are people still going to the movies and doing things that they would have done on a normal day. For all of those people, it was a normal day. For me, it was the day that changed my life into before and after.

I feel, for me anyway, that there is a mourning that you go through for the person. You are going to miss that person so much. But there was also a surprising mourning that I had, and still have, to go through for the life that was before. Life will never return to the "normal" that I knew before. And lately, I've been thinking about letting go of that mourning.

I've become good friends with someone lately who has gone through major life changing challenges. I can't even describe the impact that this person's perseverance has had on my life. And I found it interesting, as this idea of before and after has been on my mind lately, that she would share an article on Facebook that discusses this exact idea. It is an article written by Elder Holland, a leader in my church. Here is one of my favorite quotes from this article:

"As a new year begins and we try to benefit from a proper view of what has gone before, I plead with you not to dwell on days now gone nor to yearn vainly for yesterdays, however good those yesterdays may have been. The past is to be learned from but not lived in. We look back to claim the embers from glowing experiences but not the ashes. And when we have learned what we need to learn and have brought with us the best that we have experienced, then we look ahead and remember that faith is always pointed toward the future. Faith always has to do with blessings and truths and events that will yet be efficacious in our lives."

I realize that I have fallen into the trap a bit of longing for the past. That life seemed so much easier. I also found myself mourning for other people as they went through "before and after" events, as I have started to refer to them. People around me who lost a parent, a spouse, a child,  suffered through divorce, had parents going through divorce, debilitating sickness. I would mourn for how young some of these people were going through these events. I counted myself lucky to have lived in a naive view of the world with no hugely significant challenges for so long and these poor kids had to have that taken away so early. My heart ached for their before and after. I was also worried about what events the future would hold for me, or my children, that would once again change lives. It's no way to live.

This same friend of mine got up recently in sacrament meeting and shared that although she would love to have her husband back, she is grateful for going through what she has gone through. It was an amazing experience because that was the testimony that was in my heart that day. I am grateful for what I've gone through. I'm grateful for the person that I have become because of all of my trials. Honestly, I am not even close to perfect. I am not even close to the person I need to be. I miss my mom. I still shed tears that she is not with me. I still get angry and frustrated that my body doesn't work the way I would like it to. And I can say, that if there were a cure for my disease, I would jump up and down, but I am grateful for what these experiences have taught me. I am grateful to know that the best is yet to come!