Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Comfort For Those That Mourn

I've been trying to catch up on my scrapbooking lately, trying to get it all done by April, before I go back to school.  I decided to re-do my daughter McKenna's scrapbook that has been falling apart the past couple of years.  McKenna is my first born child who passed away just shy of 4 months old.  You can read more about her short time here on earth and the circumstances behind her passing here and here. As I was going through her pictures and other items I saved, I came across all the sympathy cards John and I received, and the poems given to us after she died.  The tears started flowing as I reminisced of her short life and the many wonderful people who supported us during this very difficult time of our lives.

While I was reading through everything, I was thinking about the recent shooting in Newtown, CT, of the 20 innocent beautiful children whose lives were taken early; thinking of the many parents who were still mourning the loss of their dear sweet children.  They will mourn for years to come. Some may never recover from their loss.  While I know what it is like to lose a child, I will never understand their pain of losing their son or daughter in such a horrific way, with no warning, no time to prepare. 

As I was reading the beautiful poems that brought me much comfort, (and still do) I wanted so desperately to share them with them.  I know it's not much.  Words, sometimes, only go so far. So I decided to post them here.  I have noticed visitors to my blog from all over the world, and although I do not know how you come across finding my blog, my hope is that if are searching for comfort during one of the most trying times of your life, or if you know of someone who is or has experienced the loss of a baby or child, I hope that you might find the following poems of comfort, and please share. 

The first poem was written by my aunt, Carolyn Collins, in memory of my daughter, McKenna.


Do angels kiss your rosy cheeks,
And wipe your little nose,
And cuddle you as evening comes,
And press your angel clothes?

I ask them, in my night-time prayers,
To love you as I would,
And wipe away your tears when knees are scraped
As I'd do, if I could.

You tried so hard to stay with us,
And with each blessing, sweet,
We gained new hope and confidence,
Each challenge, then to meet.

But Father had another plan,
And in His wisdom dear,
We had to give you back to Him;
Some angel hearts to cheer.

So please be good and wait for us
For we've a lot to do
If we're to earn our home above
And live again with you.

( last name Aubrey)
Within this world of day to day,
Of hectic running, every which way.
Withing this world of toil and strife,
God gave, but for a moment, a perfect life.

A life that needed not to stay,
But lingered, to bless, along the way.
She came to earth to fulfill,
And magnify the Father's will.

And though I pray, "God save this life."
I say at last to Jesus Christ.
"Not my will, but thine be done."
I'll give to Thee, my only one.

Yes, she came to teach me of God's way,
Through serving Him, day by day.

The next poem is one I would want to share with all the parents of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting.

Edgar Guest

I'll lend you for a little time a child of mine, He said,
For you to love the while she lives and mourn for when she's dead.

It may be six or seven years, or twenty-two or three,
But will you, till I call her back, take care of her for me?

She'll bring her charms to gladden you, and shall her stay be brief,
You'll have her lovely memories as solace for your grief.

I cannot promise she will stay, since all from earth return,
But there are lessons taught down there, I want this child to learn.

I've looked the wide world over in my search for teachers true,
And from the things that crowd life's lanes, I have selected you.

Now will you give her all your love nor think the labor vain,
Nor hate me when I come to call to take her back again?

I fancied that I heard them say, Dear Lord, Thy will be done!
For all the joy Thy child shall bring, the risk of grief we'll run.

We'll shelter her with tenderness, we'll love her while we may,
And for the happiness we've known forever grateful stay.

But shall the angels call for her much sooner than we've planned,
We'll leave the bitter grief that comes and try to understand.

(James Holtkamp)

My sails are set to catch the breeze,
I move smoothly through a glassy calm.
The sun is warm as I take life's ease
With no worry, care, nor qualm.

Then, with a wrenching jerk, I am yanked
Into a cold and bitter deep.
I gasp in despair at the darkness black
Which has me in its keep.

I am tossed like flotsam which has been hurled
Into a sea that no longer is warm.
But I can see a glow on the rim of the world
That promises protection from harm.

Between me and that light is a harrowing shove
To reach the source of that ray of warmth,
And find peace and gentle, pure love.

Soon the tempest becomes but a memory short,
For He smoothed the seas that ran o'er.
And my life's journey is ended i a different port
Than where I was headed before.

Without the black storm, without the dark fear
Which first seemed to drown me in pain,
I would never have reached this harbor so dear,
Into the arms of my Father again.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Being 40 Isn't All That Bad

When I turned 40 last November, I wasn't  thrilled about it.  Just ask my husband, he can vouch for that.  I felt like there was so much I wished I would have already accomplished by the time I reached that dreaded age. I felt like I had just entered the "old people" group. I wished I was healthier, physically more in shape.  I wished my home was in more order, so to speak.  I felt like I hadn't accomplished what I should have academically.  I only had an associate's degree after all, and that was only in Professional Preschool Education..... not something I could make big bucks at, nor anything to glory in by the world's standard. I simply felt unaccomplished in so many ways.  And that kind of thinking is dangerous.  What starts out as a simple evaluation of  'what have I done in my life for the past two decades', can easily turn into, 'I'm of no worth, I have nothing to show for the last 20 years of my life of any value, I can't do such and such as good as so and so.'

Thankfully, I have some pretty good friends who keep me in line, and just so happen to say the right thing, at the right time.  Apparently, 40 was the right time to tell me a few good things.  Some of those helpful words of advice came by way of texting. I had never received so many texts as I did on my birthday. I'm not much of  a texter, but sure found out how many really are when I woke up on my birthday to find 11 texts already.  I have some pretty good friends, and I'm so grateful for them.  Anyway, I'm getting off track....  My good friend Sandy, in Colorado texted me happy birthday and to have fun at Time Out For Women (a conference just for women, put on by some members of our church, which so happened to fall on my birthday).  I told her I sold my ticket, wasn't going, and that I'd try to enjoy turning 40. She told me to not get too crazy.  Knowing Sandy, I took that to mean.....'get over it, quit dwelling on the negative and just enjoy yourself.'  She put a smile on my face.

Another friend, Jill, wished me a happy birthday via text. I replied by saying that turning 40 sucks.  She quickly responded with the following..... 'No it doesn't, it's great to be at the age where all the competition and comparisons stop! Nobody to keep up with anymore.  Welcome to the club.'  I don't know why I had never thought of it that way before, but she was... she IS absolutely right!  What a waste of energy to compare myself to others. What do I care what people think of me???? Okay, I'll admit, there are times I have cared, and there will be times still I'm sure, but my perspective about it has all changed.  I should feel pretty darn happy with where my life is right now, and I am!
 The last friend that had some pretty sound advice was Leah.  She told me that age is all relative, and means nothing in the eyes of Heavenly Father. Again, another aha moment for me. Well of course it means nothing in the eyes of our creator.  I highly doubt He is sitting up there disappointed that maybe some of us haven't completed college yet, or have that high paying job yet, or even haven't been married by the time we were 23 and had 5 babies by the time we were 33.

If there are things I haven't accomplished yet at this stage of my life, the only person to blame is me. No one else. But just because I don't have a bachelor's degree YET, doesn't mean I didn't accomplish some pretty amazing things in between my 2 1/2 years at college and now.  I married a fantastic man, we have 5 beautiful children, remodeled our first home, built our second, and in our third (and final if I have anything to say about it) are remodeling again. We've (mostly him) built a business that is steady, has provided for our necessities and even some wants every once in a great while. I've served in our church in many different capacities throughout my married life.  AND, I have decided to go back to school! I am so excited about it.  I'll be doing it all online, and not quite sure what exactly I'll be studying yet. But THIS is the right time to do it.  The right time wasn't even when I was in college and only earned my associate's degree. It wasn't the right time when I was changing diapers for years.  NOW is the right time.

The funny thing is, I hadn't thought too much about going back to school before I turned 40, but just in the past few weeks, have felt a strong urge to do so, and who would have thought, after all that complaining about turning 40, that I felt like I had so much to look forward to now.
 As it turns out, I do have a lot to show for the past two decades.  I have accomplished some things of value.   The most important job I can do is within the walls of my own home.  I chose to be married.  I chose to have children and stay home to raise them as I was ( and thankfully still am) able.  It's easy to compare myself to the world and feel like I haven't accomplished what the world deems admirable.  But what many in the world express as admirable, isn't for me. I want a family more than a career. I want to live by the values and standards I was raised with and teach them to my children, more than living by the motto, 'eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die.'

As I enter this new phase of my life, I hope that I can be an example to those now living in the decades I just surpassed. I would tell them, as professed in the scriptures, that there is a time and a season for everything.  Don't worry about what you wish you could do now, but for some reason or another you are not able.  Put forth your best effort in the life you are living now!

 Something magical happened when I turned 40.  I realized more than ever, that I am a child of God, am of great worth, and have so much more to give to my family, my church, and the world.  The number of years I have lived on this earth means nothing. It is insignificant.  It is what I choose to do with my life from the time I was born, to the day I will leave this earth that is of most importance.  It's how we spend that time, with whom we spend it, and making sure our lives are of service to others all the days of our lives is what really matters, regardless of our what family looks like.

Here's to the next 40 years.