This post is dedicated, along with lots of love, hugs and prayers, to my friend Sue, who, just weeks after burying her beloved husband, is burying her dear Daddy today.
The edges of my memories of my father are faded now. I can no longer recall the sound of his voice. But I can still remember how he made me feel. In particular, I recall a handful of times he rescued me.
Sometimes the rescue came by the power of Dad’s strong arms. Once he snatched me, near-drowning, from a deep, dark hole in what had seemed to be a shallow light blue ocean. Another time he lifted me, numb and powerless, off an angry young (also newly former) Angus bull.
But most often the rescue came by the power of Dad’s faith and through his words; those times he saved me from a broken heart. A heart occasionally broken by careless boys. Sometimes broken by my own poor choices. Cause was irrelevant. The method was the same: Dad would wrap me in his arms. I would bury my head, along with my unwanted tears, into his western work shirt (with snaps) . Sometimes he just listened. Sometimes he gave me advice. I usually felt he was on my side. And before he let me go, Dad would always say:
“The sun will come out tomorrow.”
To you, those words may seem trite or cliché. They will, most likely, put the soundtrack from Annie stuck firmly in your head (I’m sorry). Given that we lived in the rainy Pacific Northwest, it was a rather bold promise. But that phrase, coming from my father, soothed my soul.
His words worked for me back then because I was just a little girl who needed the assurance that something, someone more powerful than I was in charge. I needed to know that despite all the things that were broken, the earth was still firm on its axis. I needed to know that now matter how dark was the night, the sun would light my way again the next day.
Despite some sweet and beautiful moments, it’s been a rough summer. My life-work balance is off. Night sweats, insomnia and too-long, too-busy days wear me out. There is too much sorrow, meanness, strife and heartbreak in the world around me and far too close to home. Cancer is carving a wide and vicious swath across the lives of both close family and friends, wrenching my heart beyond what I thought possible. These are hard things.
Like it or not (I don’t), I find I’m a grown up girl with grown up problems. I desperately need the assurance that something, someone more powerful than I am is in charge. And I do know. Even though I am broken and I wobble, I know the earth is still firm on its axis. No matter how dark is the night, I know the Son will rise again. He is my light. He has made everything right.
Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. 2 Nephi 31:20.
I continue to find brightness of hope in both the truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ and also in the simple beauty of this mortal world, particularly every sunset and every sunrise. Reminders that I am not alone. I can do hard things. And everything will be okay.
Where do you find strength and comfort during the trials of your life? What brings you a brightness of hope? What helps you hang on to that hope?