Finding joy amidst the pain

Sometimes we get hit repeatedly by the bad and begin to keep sight of the good. To a large part this is simply human nature. It is important to remember, however, that we don’t get the good without the bad. We have to know what pain is to know what joy is. We have to now how to lose to know how to hold on. It isn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination, but it is necessary and it is very much a part of Heavenly Father’s plan for us.

We must remember that we are not alone in our struggles. Christ went through it already. He took each of our pains, burdens, and sins upon himself. He paid the price for everything we’d do and everything we’d suffer. I am not saying that this should take away the pain, but that it should help us keep perspective when it comes down to the bottom line of what really matters.

The pain we feel when we lose someone close to us is very real. VERY REAL! There is NOTHING that can take that pain away. It just has to ease with time. It does not matter how spiritual we are. It really doesn’t. The fact is, the pain is real. It was a part of the plan. We would know joy, but we’d also have to know sorrow. It is because we love we feel the loss. I would not give up the joy and love to avoid the pain.

Today, was a day to remember and reflect on this. I am truly grateful for all the things I have been taught growing up. Sometimes we blow those things off and think of them as something less important, but the past couple of months it has really mattered.

Today, I sat through another funeral. This time the pain was just as intense as the one I sat through just a few short weeks ago. The pain from losing Margaret is still very real. The pain is still there. It still hurts. I miss her something terrible. I sit and knit and I think of the beautiful projects she would have turned out. I sit and knit and reflect on our friendship. For me, knitting brings me a touch of solitude where I feel Margaret close to me.

I haven’t cried much since her funeral. I have found comfort in the religious teachings throughout the years. I am truly grateful for these teachings. I am thankful for the comfort that the knowledge that the gospel of Jesus Christ has brought to my life over the years. I know without a doubt that we have a kind of merciful God and His plan is what really matters. I think about Margaret’s shortened life and I often contemplate what I need to be working harder on. How blessed Margaret was to be able to return to his presence so soon while the rest of us remain in our mortal states, enduring whatever may be placed before us in our time left.

The truth is, we never know when our time will be up here on Earth, in this lifetime. The fact is, it is best that we do not know. It is because of this, combined with faith, that we learn to live life to the fullest and endure to the end. This is why I am grateful for the knowledge of the Plan of Salvation. I know that one day we will have Eternal Life and live with Him again. In the end, this is what matters. Our pain and suffering now is just a small price to endure for what the ultimate gift is.

I do know that this does not make the road any less rocky, the faith a little easier to hold onto, or the pain a little less real. I know that we are going to hit bumps in the road. I know we might face mole hills or mountains. We might even face entire mountain ranges. The fact is, speed bumps happen. It is how we deal with them that matters. I know we will all encounter times in our lives where we are desperately grasping for what little faith we have to hold onto. We have to nourish the faith and sometimes the very same speed bumps tear away at the suspension of life. The challenges can and will make us stronger, but it all comes back to how we handle them. I know the pain is real. I know that my times with Margaret and those I love are worth it because the pain I feel now is very very real. Yes, it hurts. Yes, I miss my friend. I won’t trade those times for the world.

Today, I got to reflect upon these things again. I was reminded of how fleeting life is. How delicate the cycle is. How we don’t always understand the reasons, but we have to have faith that the end result is the same. I knew there was a reason that Margaret left us when she did. I have faith that the Lord knew what he was doing when he called her home two months ago. I know that there is a reason that she was the first to cross over. Maybe one day the blessings will begin to manifest themselves.

Today was a sad day. Again. I got the call earlier this week. I had passively waiting to get the phone call from Margaret’s mom. Karen, Margaret’s little sister, was pregnant and I knew that she was due sometime around the 16th. I was not surprised when the phone rang. I was surprised, however, by the words that came from that call. My heart sank. The pain would again manifest itself for a family that had already endured so much. The anguish and sorrow to once again rip their hearts apart.

Today was a second funeral for the Goins family as Karen gazed upon a tiny urn that held the remains of her precious baby boy. I sat there in that Catholic church again, hurting inside. So soon after Margaret’s death, it was hard to not feel that pain all too real again. I wanted so badly there in that church to take that pain away from Karen and her family. I wanted so badly to give them the comfort that in all the sadness, I was granted by simple faith. I knew then why Margaret had gone first. Maybe that wasn’t the Lord’s plan, but for me it brought great comfort that Margaret was on the other side, welcoming her nephew back into the the throngs of angels – a perfect angel returning home. There amidst the sorrow and agony as I gazed upon the iconic images that so readily illustrated the pain and suffering of Christ, I was thinking about how blessed that sweet baby boy was, that he only needed a body and he was able to return to his Heavenly Father’s presence while the rest of us again continue in our mortal states trudging through challenges and enduring to the end. How joyous we should be that we have a kind and loving God, a merciful God, who gave His own so that we could one day return to live with Him – to one day have Eternal Life.

I know that the Lord gives us no more than we can bear. While it might seem everything is against us, when we are heavy laden, he lifts us up. Just when we think we can’t bear anything else, he lifts our burdens and gives us rest. The hardest thing to do is to find the joy and the blessings in the trials. Our trials will make us stronger if we let them.

Today was not all sad reflection. While I have decided that Catholic funerals are difficult to sit through and leave more questions unanswered than answered, I have come to appreciate and cleave stronger to my own faith and religious beliefs. The simple comfort that it has brought the past few months has renewed my desires to try harder and to nourish that faith a little more. To be better at striving to do God’s will. It doesn’t mean I’ll suddenly be perfect, but that I am willing to try.

While it was a sad day, it was a day about finding that joy in the sorrow. My heart aches with the sorrow and anguish of the past couple of months, but it is through these reflections the questions that are seemingly left unanswered that I have firm faith and gratitude that I “know” the answers to, that I’ve been able to embrace the sorrow and face each day anew.

You can read more about the Plan of Salvation here: “Heavenly Father’s Plan of Happiness”

Today Ben and I celebrated 11 years of marriage. Happy Anniversary to us! Woohoo! It has been a long road, but I am looking forward to another 11 years and then another 11 years after that. Whatever the road may contain ahead of us, I am going to do my best to enjoy the ride. Each bump builds character and helps us find our own strength so that the next bump isn’t so bad. May we learn to endure to the end in all things and face many many many more happy years ahead.

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