Remembering my dad, remembering a promise

I’ve said before that my Sunday posts, when I do them, will be about my faith and today is no exception.  My posts during the week will be about everything else, but Sundays will be different.  As most of you probably already know, I’m Mormon.

I have really felt a need for the Lord’s power lately.  It’s easy to feel swamped in my busy life. For the last two weeks, I’ve been trying to get up at 5:00 a.m. so that I can have time to pray, read scriptures, and plan my day before everything gets crazy.  Notice I say I’ve been trying.  It didn’t actually happen until today, when 6:00 a.m. became 5:00 a.m.  I never thought I would think of daylight savings as a tender mercy, but today it is.

This boys is one of the reasons I want to get up earlier.  I want to plan better so I can have more time to enjoy my children.  

I’ve been thinking about a promise that I’ve been too afraid to try.  My friend shared a promise that had been given to her stake by Elder Loren C. Dunn, a former member of the seventy.  It goes like this.

Read The Book of Mormon in 30 days Challenge

·        Think of several problems in your life and order them from greatest to least.

·        Read 20 pages a day for 30 days, it gives you some leeway if you have a super busy day.

·        Look for the words “conversion,” “baptism,” and “healing.”  When you see any of those words, stop and ponder them and what context they are in.

·        Go to the temple 2-3 times during that 30 day period.

·        Every time you pray, pray for missionary experiences and look for them.

Elder Dunn promised them that if they did this, one of their biggest problems would be solved.

I was really amazed by the promise, but also pretty skeptical.  My legally trained mind made me wonder if this really could work for me.  Elder Dunn promised this to a group of people in Arizona (jurisdiction), I was hearing the promise second hand (hearsay) and the promise had been given many years ago (statute of limitations). 

Could I really trust that this promise would work for me?  Could I even do it?  I was looking at a commitment of about an hour day, and my life was already totally crazy. 

But then I realized that I already knew the answer because I had tried it four years ago, and it had worked for me then.  Of course it would work for me now.

My dad with my three boys.

Four years ago, my father died.  I never really knew what true mourning was until my husband came to me early that morning and told me that my healthy father was riding on his bike when he went into sudden cardiac arrest.  Sounds came out of my throat that I had never heard before, sounds so deep and so hoarse and so alien that I didn’t even believe it was me that was making them.   

I had never experienced this feeling before, this wrestling, the truth standing right before me, and my futile and angry attempts to push it away.   But truth came back with a vengeance when my husband told me we had been asked to find and tell my two younger sisters.  

Nobody warns you about the demands that are made on the family before a funeral.  You are in your deepest sorrow and yet so much is demanded out of you.  You have to let people into your life when you just want to be left alone. You have to make decisions about where to bury your loved one and you might find that not everyone agrees.  You have to help write a eulogy for the newspaper, juggle children, help determine the program of the funeral, find pictures of your dad, prepare a talk, see your father who no longer can comfort you, and stand in a receiving line for hours, hugging both loved ones and strangers.

And yet there are so many that surround you, that mourn with you, that bring food, and this softens things.  I learned from my mother in those few days what it means to be gracious.

But when I sat on my couch, a few days later, eight months pregnant, I was emotionally, physically, and spiritually exhausted.  Numb.  I was too tired to be angry anymore.  I found it easier not to think than to think about him.

And then something descended over me.  Something sweet and peaceful and comforting.  I look back on it now and I believe my father was there with me.  Maybe I had been wrong.  Maybe he could comfort me after all.  He also asked something from me. He wanted me to call his brother.
 
A week later, my dad’s brother and I were in a little Book of Mormon race, determined to finish it by the end of the year which only gave us only six weeks.

My mind was completely shot.  Maybe all of my blood was going to my baby, but I had a hard time concentrating.  But I know one thing.  I felt the Lord’s power.  I felt faith growing in me, a physical energy which I hadn’t felt for months, and a focus that helped me get ready for Christmas and the new baby.  My dad had always been blessed with great physical energy.  Perhaps he was giving me his. 

When my sweet Deborah came, I was ready for her.  I felt calm and prepared.  I felt such joy that I hadn’t felt for a long time.  I believe my dad was there with me too.   

So I guess I can read The Book of Mormon again in one month.  I’m busy, yes.  But I also know I have problems, and while one of them is that I can never find my cellphone, I have some bigger challenges too.  If the Lord and maybe my dad can help me solve just one of them, this read will be worth it.

I’m on chapter 17.  I’ll let you know how things are going next Sunday.

Ricky with his new baby sister.  I think my dad was with us too.  

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5 comments

  1. Hey Beck, I'm on chapter 19! Sweet! I try to read five pages a day. I can't do the 20 pages a day, sorry, it's just not in the works for me. Thanks for sharing that about Dad. I never heard how you heard and your initial reaction. Shock and despair is what I felt, that's for sure. You can't really prepare yourself for that. Ben was gone to work and he had forgotten his cell phone that day. So, Chris Heiner was desperately trying to contact him so he could be the one to break it to me, but it was to no avail. So, instead they called the bishop, and his wife came over to tell me. She's my age. Actually, she was all teary eyed at the door and wouldn't tell me what was wrong, she just told me to call home. When she said that, I knew someone had died. No one shows up at your door in tears, refusing to tell you what's wrong, but insisting that you call home. It was a horrible couple of minutes getting the phone, dialing, and waiting for someone to pick up. I knew someone had died. My hands were trembling as I dialed the numbers. I was sitting on the edge of the bed, Carey was there next to me. Anyway, in a tender mercy when Mom said the words, “We've lost your dad” Carey embraced me so hard. She just threw her arms around me and was wailing as loud as I was. She was the epitome of mooring with those that mourn. Anyway, all the memories that swirl around those days and weeks are unforgettable and so tender. I miss Dad every day. But in some ways I feel he's closer to me now than he ever could be living back in Utah… he's near and watching over me. It's nice.

  2. Thanks for sharing Bec…what a hard time that was. It was hard on the neighbors too to watch your sweet family suffer. Especially as they looked late into the night for him. You do have a very sweet testimony and I hope you can do your challenge. I need to just start reading everyday…a wild idea maybe we could meet up to go to the temple like in American Fork???

  3. Mindy, thank you for sharing that. I cried when I wrote the entry, and I'm crying now reading your comment. I believe I've heard you share this before, but it was more powerful when I read it. I don't think I knew that she threw your arms around you and cried with you. That's a tender mercy right there. Love you Mindy. Now I'm going to meander over to your blog . . .

  4. Thank you! What a very personal experience for you to share. Your dad was a wonderful man!

    The BOM challenge sounds impossible for me. I am lucky to read a chapter a night. Good luck in doing it! I might just try it one day. I will put it on my list of 100. 😊

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