Monday, April 02, 2012

A Woman I'd like to Meet

I have a long list of people I want to meet when I die.  All the normal people are on that list—past prophets, ancestors I’ve never met, etc. There is one person in particular I’d like to acquaint myself with though.  Unfortunately, I haven’t a clue what her name is.
 I’ll probably just walk around heaven calling out at random people, “Excuse me, are you of German Decent?  Did you live during World II?  Did you bury all your children with a Tablespoon?”

I first heard about this woman in a General Conference.  Later, I read the talk by President Monson called “Be of Good Cheer”.  I was moved by her story, printed the talk off, and included it in my binder of favorite talks.
President Monson’s talk tells of a strong German woman who inspired me to have more faith
While pregnant with my daughter Laila, I was going through a difficult time physically and spiritually.  I distinctly remember the night I pulled my binder out.  I sat on the bed and flipped through each talk.  Which one did I need to read to give me that much-needed spiritual lift?  My eyes rested upon President Monson’s talk.  If someone needed to be of good cheer it was me.  I began to read and as I got to the part about this wonderful, righteous woman the tears began to flow.

I read as President Monson related the story of this strong woman making the long trek from East Prussia to West Germany.  Forced to leave, and already suffering the loss of her beloved, she packed her family up and began the daunting trek.  During the trek, she gradually lost her children one by one.  Finally, the last of her family to remain, a baby, died in her arms. 

As I read I tried to imagine the pain she felt, her tablespoon now gone, as she dug the final grave with her bare, frozen fingers.  Sobbing, I read the words to her prayer, “Dear Heavenly Father, I do not know how I can go on. I have nothing left—except my faith in Thee. I feel, Father, amidst the desolation of my soul, an overwhelming gratitude for the atoning sacrifice of Thy Son, Jesus Christ. I cannot express adequately my love for Him. I know that because He suffered and died, I shall live again with my family; that because He broke the chains of death, I shall see my children again and will have the joy of raising them. Though I do not at this moment wish to live, I will do so, that we may be reunited as a family and return—together—to Thee.”

Her words struck me. How could she have such faith in the midst of such despair?  I told myself that if she could have faith such as this, surely I could bare my burden a little better. 
When my sweet Laila passed away I found my mind drifting to that night I sat on the bed with the binder open in my lap, sobbing for this faithful mother who had lost all her family and still had the strength to go on.  

If I had a chance to meet this woman I would tell her Thank You.  I would tell her how her testimony and faith encouraged me when I had to do my own suffering.  I would thank her for her example of devotion and courage.  I would tell her how her gratitude for the Atonement and trust in the promised blessings of eternal families strengthened my motivation to trust in those same things.

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