My little thing is a tree. Well, technically, a couple of trees. This picture is of the Quad on USU’s Campus, and those trees have been there for years! I’m not entirely sure how long, but I know it’s close to 80 years, if not more. They are huge Norway Maples, and are perfect specimens of that species. And they are going to die.
Every species of tree has a different lifespan. Some live for ten, twenty years, whereas others can live for thousands of years. God designed them all differently, and had a specific plan for each.
So, if God spent such care in his design of trees, don’t you think He would have a very specific plan for each of His children here on earth? Over the past several years, I have come to learn that He does.
My amazing Grandma Mary passed away a little over a year ago, the week before classes started. She died from a cancer that the doctors could only remove once. When it came back, which they knew it would, they couldn't do anything. For a long time, as my Grandma struggled with this, I was so angry at the doctors who treated her. I was angry that they didn't do more for her. I was angry that they gave up so easily. I was angry that something so small could do so much damage.
Time doesn't always erase pain. For me, though, it did bring understanding. Mostly, I knew that I couldn't stay mad. I needed to have faith in God, and His plan for my Grandma’s life as well as my own. I know that doctors are doing all that they can to learn how to treat cancer and other illnesses, and some things are really truly out of their grasp.
This past week, a young man died at USU. I didn't know him, but I did mourn for his family and friends because memories of my own pain were so close at the time. I wondered about this man, and what God’s plan was for him. As I did, the Holy Ghost whispered to my heart that this was the young man’s time to die. God does care about us, and even though death is tragic and heart breaking, it is another step in the path to return to Him.
Another thing that I have learned in the past year is that it is okay to cry. After my Grandma passed away, I realized that I was also mad at myself, because I kept crying. I had had family and friends pass away before, and felt the Holy Ghost comfort me and let me know that they were okay. So why didn't I have more faith now? Why couldn't I toughen up and stop being a wimp? I had faith that she was in Heaven, that now she was at peace and her pain was finally gone. So what was wrong with me? As I thought about this, a sweet, peaceful feeling filled my heart, and the thought came to mind, “It’s not a bad thing to cry because you love someone.”
How grateful I am for the tender mercies of our Heavenly Father! And how grateful I am for love, and the joy that comes from it. I love my Grandma. She is one of my heroes, and I miss her so much. But I know where she is. I know that Heavenly Father has a plan for each and every one of us, and some day, we will be resurrected. This life is not the end, and it is not what eternity will be like. If we follow God’s commandments, we can be with Him again.