Thursday, June 29, 2017

Prove Faithful

The funeral for Abraham today was beautiful. They live in Preston, Idaho. This is the first time I've been up there. I've been to Logan before, but driving further north, I just thought about what a beautiful area it was, such a pretty valley. Right below Preston is Whitney, ID, where President Ezra Taft Benson was born, which I didn't know before. I can see why President Benson loved his farm, it is such beautiful country!

On the freeway as we drove up, before we got to the Brigham City exit, there was a mother duck and her ducklings crossing the freeway. They were in the middle lane moving west when we passed on the left of them. There were so many cars and the cars were coming so quickly. No driver could see the ducks until they were right in front of them. We passed by and I looked behind to try to see what happened with the cars behind us. I didn't see them get hit, but I felt sick thinking about them, as I was sure they didn't make it all the way across alive. Those little baby ducks! Just following their mother with complete trust! Or maybe it was more complete dependence... maybe they were like "Uh, Mom? This doesn't seem like the best idea..." but they didn't really have any other options but to go along. Anyway, so they're probably all dead, so sad. I don't like death. And since we were on our way to a funeral, we talked and thought about death. None of us escape it. I'm so grateful to know that our spirits live on, that animals have spirits and they live on too. If they did die, they are like our little baby bird, enjoying each other's company in the perfect meadows of heaven. I have a sure faith that Christ has overcome death and I am so grateful to know that!

We arrived in time for the viewing. It was an open casket. It was hard to control my emotions as I looked at him as I held Owen in my arms. I gave him to Wes and then lifted up each of the girls to see Abraham's sweet little body. A little blonde two year old boy, I could only think of Owen as I imagined being in their position. The Royals are burying part of their heart today. Such a heart wrenching experience. Melanie and Dannan were out in the hall as people left the viewing. I gave Melanie a hug first. She said "You are so blessed! Your children are such a gift, cherish them!" I gave Dannan a hug. "Thank you for coming. There are no words. What can you do? The Lord called him home, and we have to be tried even as Abraham...." That was a quote by Joseph Smith that Dannan also shared during his talk, a quote that I am familiar with:

"You will have all kinds of trials to pass through. And it is quite as necessary for you to be tried as it was for Abraham and other men of God. God will feel after you, and He will take hold of you and wrench your very heart strings, and if you cannot stand it you will not be fit for an inheritance in the Celestial Kingdom of God."

Our very heart strings wrenched... a fitting description for this test. Then we watched a short picture video of Abraham's life, saw beautiful pictures of him being hugged and kissed and loved by his family. We went into the chapel and waited for the funeral to start. Owen had the runs, so I took him out for 4 diaper changes before the services concluded. One my first outing to the car, Rachael saw me. She and Jacob came and sat by us and held Daniel. Rachael said they were going to sing a quartet with Melanie and Dannan and she hoped they could actually sing and not just stand up there crying. Dannan gave a beautiful talk. As I listened I thought it was so beautiful, so I began to record it. I'll try to transcribe it later. I also recorded the song. They were able to keep composure as they sang through it. Their voiced blended perfectly and they had heavenly smiles on their faces. They sang Dearest Children, God is Near You. I thought of Melanie and Dannan as the "children" in the song. In verse two - "...Holy angels Watch your actions night and day, And they keep a faithful record Of the good and bad you say." Though this is the trial of their life, they are speaking faithful words and are not condemning God for letting this heart wrenching experience come into their lives. They are powerful examples to everyone who knows them! Their stake president spoke too. I recorded his talk and should transcribe some of that too. He said great things, like how they all will be able to feel Abraham's spirit and presence with them throughout their lives. He also warned them that they will be tempted by the adversary to blame themselves or to feel guilty for what happened, so they will need to fight off those temptations cause they are lies from Satan who wants to destroy our hope. We will continue to pray for our dear friends that they and all of us can "...prove faithful, Oh prove faithful! To your God and Zion's cause!" It was a lovely service. Hyrum and Wesley came up, Abi and Lily stayed for an activity they had with neighbors, and I took Sophi, Natalie, Owen and Daniel. It was a long drive and we got them up early. Natalie fell asleep before the program was finished
...which was good cause she was being a bit of a stinker. Owen and Daniel were wiggly and noisy - again I had like 4 diaper changes for Owen during the services and Daniel was noisy, but I knew that my friends would give anything to be wrestling with their little boy instead of burying him. I hope I can always keep that perspective. But I know that their tears will be turned to joy in a glorious coming day. This picture was on Dannan's facebook. (Painting by Howard Lyon)
"And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away."
-Revelation 21:4

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