Saturday, January 21, 2017

After the storm comes a rainbow

My sweet Sophie, 4 years old, painted a picture of a rainbow earlier this week with her watercolors. When she was finished, she proudly held up her hard work and with a big grin said, "I made this for Daddy!"

We placed the picture in a ziplock bag and set off to place it at Tony's grave. Unfortunately with the cold weather, his headstone cannot be placed until the spring so we tucked her beautiful gift at his unmarked grave onto the wreath holder. Sophie was so proud and wanted a picture taken of her, of course.

As she was painting her rainbow picture, I immediately thought of the story of Noah and the ark. Sophie had also painted me a matching rainbow, so I wrote "God's promises" on it and placed it on the fridge. When my older kids came home from school they quickly noticed the cute picture Sophie made. "What do you mean by 'God's promises,' Mom?" asked my oldest daughter, Emma (7). Before I even had a chance to open my mouth, Landon (8) piped in excitedly that he sure knew what it meant, and he wanted to give a lesson to our family that night about rainbows and promises.

Sure enough, a few hours later Landon rounded us all up for Family Home Evening (this is on Tuesday, I had failed to have it the night before but my little "man of the house" was making sure we still held it this week!). He passed the picture of the rainbow around and told the story of the prophet Noah to his younger siblings and then began to expound on promises that Heavenly Father makes to us. Baptism, temple covenants, and eternal families were all things Landon knew were promises we make to God, and in turn, God makes to us. Let's just say I was one proud mamma that day, and I was humbled by my beautiful children and their sweet hearts. I worry so much sometimes that I have much to teach them as they grow, but in reality, they are truly teaching me.

The rainbow picture will keep the coveted fridge spot for awhile. As I pass by it several times a day (I need to stay away from the ice cream more!), I reflect on all the promises I have made with Tony and together, as well as individuals, we have made with our Heavenly Father. What glorious promises I am reminded of when I look at the rainbow, and I can ground myself to remember God's Great Plan of Happiness. There is no trial or hardship too great that can surpass the peace and joy that comes from striving to live as God has asked us. I can really promise that, and I really do know eternal happiness WILL be gained if we do all that we can and rely on our Savior to fill in our inadequacies. If there is one thing I have began to better understand this past seven weeks, this is it!

After the storm comes a rainbow. Today we had a big snowstorm in the morning. It was dreary to go out in all the wet, and the sky was cloudy and grey, heavy and cold. But sure enough, the clouds cleared and the sun came out shining brighter than it had all week. What comfort we can receive if we recognize during the rain or snow that a rainbow or the sun will come again, and we will then have a deeper appreciation, even a greater desire, to see it and enjoy it.

Since Tony died seven weeks ago, a subtle grey sky has settled upon my heart. It is not a depression but the looming of a rain cloud above my head that is waiting to pour down on me. I know the hard work of grieving is ahead of me, and that the time to begin processing it is here. In order to help, I've scheduled a visit with a grief counselor to begin this process, for I know I need to be armed with all the help I can get when the storm pours over my soul. It may sound strange, but I am wanting to go through this since there will be a rainbow at the end, and peace can fill my heart. I long to feel the warmth of the sun. My appreciation for so many things in life has deepened, and my heart needs to begin to heal and grow again. Going into this storm, I think the half of my heart that is still left with me can heal and grow, even bigger than it was before.

I promised Tony I would keep writing even after he was gone. I am not wanting to be too personal, but am feeling a great need to share my feelings and experiences with you, for whatever benefit that my be, even if it is just theraputic to write down my thoughts for myself. So plan on hearing from me over the next several months as I sort through my ache of missing Tony and learn to patiently wait for my rainbow to come.

Thank you again to all who serve us so selflessly and send words of love and encouragement. My kids and I love you all!