III. Things That Are Keeping Me Upright

A) The musical number at church last week during sacrament meeting. My neighbors Talia and Ryan sang this angelic version of Where Can I Turn for Peace, which is a personal favorite. I’ve sung and played this hymn to myself probably 10,000 times over Jack’s lifespan. When they sang it, and my friend Kim accompanied them, I felt like angels were performing solely for my benefit. I closed my eyes and the four of us were the only ones in the chapel. The lyrics, penned by Emma Lou Thayne, are inspired. They are real. They are a lament and a prayer of thanks for Jesus.

“He answers silently/ reaches my reaching

in my Gethsemane, Savior and friend.”

I am reaching out and He is reaching back.

B) Then our Bishop spoke and poured some kind of a balm into my cracked heart. He talked about the handcart pioneers and related their deep physical suffering to the suffering of the enslaved people in the book of Mosiah whose heavy burdens persisted over a very long time, and yet which were eased by God, who gave them the strength to carry on. I have often felt that God was helping me to carry this heavy load that has pressed me down.

The Bishop talked about the people’s rescue from bondage, which came after much grief, and yet it happened literally overnight. When the time was right and they were chastened and humbled, God cleared a path for their deliverance and it was immediate. I have never before related this part of the story to my story. I’ve been stuck on the burdens/carrying on part. But when he spoke to the congregation, this voice in my mind said that this rescue applies to me too.

Eating has been difficult for me because I feel nauseous, of late. After hearing these words, I went home and ate dinner, and it tasted good.

C) People fasting and praying for us. Wow, I can’t even describe the strength I feel from this.

D) My sister Christina’s new baby daughter, Wren. She is the most beautiful baby and I feel that her birth has effectively reminded me that there is hope in the world, that things will get better, that life continues and is beautiful.

E) Jeff. He’s the only one, besides Jesus, who really knows. We have taken this path together. We have been toiling together these many years. He gets it and he is a huge comfort to me.

F) Spring. The leaves finally unfurled on the trees, right about the time I felt I would collapse from sorrow. They are basically exhaling life and beauty which I am inhaling deeply.

G) The gym. I’m going less frequently because issues, but when I am able to go, I honestly feel like I’m sweating out putrid stress. Endorphins, yo. They help a lot.

H) Books. My friend Emily Manwaring’s YA not-yet-published manuscript about teens in Wales held me rapt and took my mind off the heartache at hand. Now I’m reading Julie Berry’s All the Truth That’s in Me and again, for a time, I can forget about my sadness at the coming transition. It’s a beautifully written book about hard things. This is what I need in my life. Art mirroring life, with a side of escapism.

  2 comments for “III. Things That Are Keeping Me Upright

  1. Talia
    May 14, 2017 at 1:29 am

    I’m so humbled the song could bring you peace. It is a favorite song of mine as well. Every time I sing I pray that the Lord will be with me, to bring His spirit and touch those who are praying to feel His love. It is not something I can do on my own, but only through His help. I loved Bishop’s comments too. Thank you for sharing your insight

  2. May 14, 2017 at 4:23 pm

    Mosiah 24 = strength to go on

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