October 19, 2017

Just up the street . . . It's going to be ok

After the greatest trial in your life, what would you say if someone told you that you were going to be ok?

Would you be relieved? Ticked off? Not believe them? Scared? Excited? Would you create in your mind what “ok” you would be ok with? Would you be willing to go wherever you felt prompted . . . or would you be too prideful to accept that “ok” didn’t look ok to you?

I remember a few promises given to me—in the months after the murder—that I will never forget. Silent promises—in my closet—on the darkest night of my life . . . that I was going to make it through all of this. I was going to be ok.

One promise came in the form a blessing—my church leader laid his hands on my head and told me that my Heavenly Father was going to watch over me. I was going to be ok.

Promises from friends and family saying they would always have my back.  I was going to be ok.

Letters written by my babies “to people of Japan” . . . as I read, I felt their truths for my own story. I was going to be ok.

Promises from strangers across the world—messages of hope that they were praying for me. I was going to be ok.

But guess what . . . some days it felt impossible to believe. No matter who the source of the promise, I always doubted that life would ever be the same. And guess what else . . . it never has been.  My definition of a traumatic event is a moment in which time freezes and you think, “My life is never going to be the same”.  Many of those make it hard to believe anyone’s promise that “Everything is going to be OK!”.

One of those promises came on a very dark week. (“Bailed out” . . . I wrote about parts of it in my first book) . . . but what I didn’t share was after a powerful talk about grace helped me remember that I wasn’t alone—during that same conference—it was announced that a new temple for my church was going to be built in my town.

That announcement—to me—less than one month after losing my spouse, was a promise that everything was going to be ok. That He was remembering how alone I felt, and He was giving me a light at the end of my black tunnel. In my mind, that promise was going to be fulfilled ASAP! But as the months turned into years the light started to fade—a timetable of unmet expectations had me wondering about His plan.

Yesterday I got the chance to be an usher inside the walls of the building that was promised. And as I sat alone in a silent stairway—during one location of my shift—I was overcome with gratitude for the light that I felt. It was so much brighter than a glimmer at the end of a tunnel. What they didn’t announce six years ago . . . was that the location for this promised light was only one block from the location of my darkest night—on the same street even.

As I reflected in that stairway I felt a love so strong I had to wipe a few tears. What once was a small glimmer of light now stands as a magnificent glowing building—
for me . . . a symbol of His love just right up the street from the pain.  

In another spot in the temple—during the open house yesterday—I could over hear a volunteer sharing a story. In the early months of construction the building had undergone some graffiti by an uninvited trespasser. As workers showed up the next day, many suggested they just paint over it. The boss finally told them the final plan, “We can’t just paint over it . . . or else it will still be there. Just because we cover it up—it doesn’t mean it is gone. We are going to have to start on this space again. It will take more time, but it will be ok.” So they redid the whole wall.

We each have parts of us that feel like graffiti—secrets and lies, false beliefs and fears. For the most part, we spend our time trying to cover them up. But that doesn’t take them away. It may take a little scrubbing for us to get rid of the pain. It may take a little reconstruction—but just like the buildings that are dedicated to help us strengthen our relationship with our Savior . . . so are these temples that hold our spirit. If all the yesterdays you spent covering up the pain aren’t making it go away, maybe it is time to get help. Don’t be afraid to talk about it—just because you cover it up . . .doesn’t mean it isn’t still there.  Friends, family, counselors . . . all promise to have your back. And even more than all of them—you have a Creator and Savior who always will.

He doesn’t always do everything on our timetable—but the little promise of light He sent long ago . . . He hasn’t forgotten. Just wait, maybe instead of a little light at the end of the tunnel—maybe He is going to take a whole mountain and make it glow . . . just right up the street from the fear. 

Are you ok with ok? When God says it is going to be ok . . . are you still going to smile if it looks different than what you had planned—you still going to believe? Are you still going to pray, even when the world has failed you? Are you going to remember that the only advise that matters . . . is His?

We cannot be blinded by fear, or feel forgotten because it hasn’t been easy. We have to figure out how to be ok . . . with ok.

I am ok. And most days I am even better. What a difference six years, seven months . . .  and one block makes.

I know He didn’t just announce—or build—that sacred building right there for me . . . but it sure has helped me feel remembered. So many people have told me they have thought of us every time they have passed THE Walgreens. I hope from now on as they drive down that street another block and see a place that is full of light . . . they remember Him. The One who doesn’t see us as separated by religion, or governments, or race. The One who created all the beauty of the earth—everything that promises light.

I know every time I drive down that street I will remember the promise that even the darkest moments . . . if you keep going down the road a little further . . . will turn to light. Don’t you give up.

He loves us. He loves us regardless of all our graffiti . . . or the graffiti we have left for others to clean up.

And . . . He promises . . .

It’s going to be ok.

Shawn and I took a bunch of pics the other day before it was open when we were walking the grounds. Here are a few of my favorites. We are taking the kids through next week before it is dedicated next month. I will get some good pictures to ad to these.

 All welcome for the open house! Go stop by and check it out. 


carolyne b said...

What a beautiful post...It's going to be okay. 5 simple words at a difficult time in life, and sometimes unbelievable. How is it possible for a day etched in memory going to be okay? But it is possible. By small and simple things, by each step we take....by trusting and having faith that our Father knows us and what we are capable of doing. I will be sharing this story tonight at FHE. That it is possible to get through the trials and challenges of our life's. Like your family we to are getting a temple here in a couple years.

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