Sunday, February 21, 2016

Beauty Out of Ashes

I was pretty good for awhile at printing out our blog into a book each year.  I was up to date until Laila died and then it took me forever to get that year's blog book done.  It was torture to have to go through the pictures and entries again as I organized them into a book.  I could only do a couple of entries at a time.  After I got the book printed I put the blog books on pause.  I was emotionally drained.  I started them up again and got about half way into the following year.  The previous blog book covered part of my pregnancy with Laila, her birth, our move to Colorado, her death and the first five months after her death.  That left the majority of the year after her death to cover.  It had a lot of heavy posts and I found working through that book to be just as hard as the previous one.  I got about half way through the book before I just stopped for awhile.  I finally got serious about finishing it and our computer broke.  All of the work I had made on the book was lost.  I have no books finished since the one from 2011.  I am four years behind now.  I know I need to get them organized and printed off but I just struggle to do it.

Having to relive tragedy is tough.  I find that going back now is so much easier than it was.  It's not so fresh now.  I can look back and appreciate the growth I've made and our family has made.  I am not the same Adrianne I was four and a half years ago.  I'm better.  There are lasting wounds but I am better.

This weekend I've remembered a lot of those first days of her death.  I thought about the first night when I felt my soul would wither.  Even in my sleep I felt my soul crying out.  I got confused between my tears and Mike's.  I remembered the aching need to be anywhere my children were.  I needed to be close to them.  I laid on the floor in their room to listen to them breathe while they slept. I thought about standing at the grave site and watching the men shovel dirt on her tiny casket because I had to stay until the very last moment.  I had to be there to see the finality of it.  I remember going to visit her the first time and feeling this physical desire to claw at the ground and dig her out.

There is a lot to remember.

Here, four and a half years later, I consider all those memories again except this time I think about how my love for the Savior has grown.  I can see how He held me, walked with me, and sat with me during those dark days.  I now have a real testimony of how angels uplift us and how they care about us.  I have a testimony of the power of prayer and how the united prayers of those that love you and pray in your behalf sustain you during trials.  I have a testimony that when you feel happiness again it is warm and more beautiful than you can imagine because your ability to appreciate the happiness has increased.

I have a testimony of temples.  When Laila died I knew I needed to be in the temple.  It was my one request--that anyone that wanted to come to the temple the day before her viewing could come but I was going anyway.  I didn't feel happiness in the temple that day.  I didn't come out feeling peace and recharged.  I felt numb but I also knew that moving forward I needed the sustaining power that would come to me by going. I didn't have some magnificent experience there and I didn't feel her presence there but I know that going was my way of giving my heart to the Lord and telling him that I would accept His will and that would have faith in the promises of eternal happiness by living true to the covenants I made in the temple.

I have a testimony of the simple, day to day actions that fill our lives with faith.  I know that reading scriptures, saying prayers, fasting, going to church, etc. are the answer to keeping our hearts filled with faith.  Those simple actions allow us to build reservoirs of faith that we can draw on in times of darkness so that when it feels like we have nothing left to give we can draw from our reservoir that we have previously worked to fill by our day to day actions of keeping the commandments.

Most importantly, I know God loves us.  I know he suffers with us and that He understands so personally how we feel.

It is difficult to think about how God makes beauty out of ashes.  It is hard when we are in the ashes stage to ever feel as though anything beautiful will ever come out of it.  For years, I fought the idea.  I didn't want anyone telling me it would be better or that I would appreciate it in the end.  How could I ever appreciate anything that took my daughter away?  I still wish she were here.  I still wish there was some other way to grow without having to feel such bitterness.  But I appreciate who I am becoming.  I appreciate how my relationship with the Lord has grown and how my capacity to love my children has grown.  I appreciate how my ability to feel for others has grown as well.

Beauty CAN come from ashes.

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