Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Hard Things

My parent's dear friend Melanie returned to heaven last Wednesday after a vigilant eighteen month battle with lung cancer.

Tonight I came back from a fun day with Shari and the Johnson's to my parent's house and discovered a choir of young women rehearsing for Melanie's funeral in our living room.

I sat on the basement stairs listening because I didn't want to interrupt the beautiful spirit in the room by going in. They sang this song and sounded like a choir of angels. I know their friend Melanie was listening and her spirit will be there on Thursday when they perform at her funeral as well.

A family friend shared this quote when talking about this remarkable woman. 

“When we speak of those who are instruments in the hand of God, we are reminded that not all angels are from the other side of the veil.  Some of them we walk with and talk with here, now, every day.  Some of them reside in our own neighborhoods.  Indeed, heaven never seems closer than when we see the love of God manifested in the kindness and devotion of people so good and so pure that angelic is the only word that comes to mind.” - Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

I feel blessed to have known Melanie and to have been inspired by her through her blog as well as through brief interactions that I've had with her over the past three + years as my dad has served with her husband in their ward's Bishopric. 

My last chat with her was a few months ago when we were visiting Utah on a Sunday with baby Caitlin. Instead of talking about her struggling health issues she just wanted to meet my little Caitlin and tell me what a beautiful little girl she was and how loved she was by her grandparents. I think everyone that she interacted with felt special and better about themselves after they talked with her.

As I contemplate starting again in 2012 with new resolutions and goals for myself and my family, the lessons I have learned from Melanie are fresh in my mind. 

My favorite reminder comes from her post on June 29, 2010 that I refer back to often, 

“Therefore dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed. ” D&C 123:17 

"I can do hard things!"           

I don't have many hard things in my life... just the regular old ups and downs of motherhood and every day living. Yet I am committed this year to being more stalwart in how I live my life- as a mother, wife, daughter, sister, neighbor, and friend. 

I can be more cheerful, loving, patient, faithful, grateful, and thoughtful... among other things. 

I am grateful for the example of Melanie and the many ways that she has touched my family's life. 

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