Mixed Emotions

Today I am struggling with very mixed emotions.  On the one hand, it is officially the Thanksgiving Holiday!!!  I love thinking about the things I am grateful for in our lives.  We are so very, very blessed!!  The Lord has been very good to us and though we have trials and difficulties, our blessings far outweigh the bad stuff!

Yesterday was the anniversary of my husband’s proposal of marriage to me.  He officially asked me on the 1st of November 1989!  I can always remember because our original wedding date was to be January 11, 1990.  But our sealer was out of town that day, so the week before the wedding, he asked if we could move our wedding to the 10th–which we did.  It was a beautiful day!  Even though it was a dark and gloomy and an overcast, frozen Utah afternoon, our hearts were aglow with love and hope!  It was suppose to be a white wedding (all the guests in white too) but our sealer was coming in on his lunch hour and didn’t have time to change, so everyone was dressed in white, except the sealer.  It was a unique experience and memorable.

But yesterday is the anniversary of Drew and three of his buddies singing “Yes, Sir, that’s my Baby!” in front of about 1000 people in my American Heritage class at BYU.  It was a crazy day!  I hadn’t planned on going to class that day.  I don’t remember why.  But I was in my dorm room, in my sweat pants, unshowered, hanging out in my room.  My best friend Robyn, came and knocked on the door.  We had a deal since both of us had a tendency to slack off sometimes.  I would periodically ride Robyn about attending class and doing homework and she would periodically ride me.  She was definitely doing her job that day.  I was not going to class.  I fought her the entire way.  She packed up my back pack, put it on me and basically kicked me out of the dorms.  She watched me too so I wouldn’t turn around and go back to bed.

When I arrived at class, there were people crowding around the doorways and I could hardly get in.  Then, inside the auditorium, there were people sitting in the aisles.  It was never that crowded and there were almost always seats available.  But not that day.  As I reached the row where I usually sat (a few rows from the front in the middle), I heard the professor calling my name and asking for me to come to the front of the class.  Great!  In my sweats and a pony tail.  I looked lovely.  Drew and the guys came out onto the stage from the curtain and sang their song, barbershop quartet style.  They did a fabulous job and the audience loved it!  Then Drew took the microphone from the professor, jumped off the stage, knelt on one knee in front of me and asked me in front of all of those people if I would marry him.  It was crazy!  I hemmed and hawed a bit, the audience yelled, “Say yes!!”  “Say no!!”  Then I agreed and the audience roared.

It is a fun day to remember.

The mixed emotions part is because yesterday, the son of one of our friends, was killed here where we live in a shoot-out with the police.  I think he was 21.  We got the call because Drew is the Bishop and they thought he was a member of our ward.  His family had been.  They moved about a year ago.  Drew had been their home teacher and Bishop.  Another member of our ward called and told us about it.  Then there was a bit of a scramble as we tried to verify the story and his identity.  We were also trying to help the coroner contact his family.  Now we are just mourning with our friends.

For a while there was also a bit of a scare because an officer was shot and we were concerned he was our friend also–because the photos in the paper looked like our officer friend.  But our friend wasn’t on duty.  His wife texted me and said that he was safe and the officer who was shot was expected to recover.  That was a relief.

Anyway, today in seminary we were discussing the reunion of Joseph (sold into Egypt) and his father Jacob.  They had been separated for 20 years.  Jacob had thought this entire time that Joseph was dead.  Joseph had been sold into slavery by his brothers at 17.  He was wrongfully accused of rape, after withstanding her advances day after day after day, and spent 7 years in prison.  Those are plenty of reasons to be bitter and angry at God.  Instead, Joseph become leader in Egypt, second only to Pharaoh and saved Egypt and the house of Israel from seven years of famine!  God used all of the bad things the people did to Joseph to put him into a potion where Joseph could fulfill the desires and plans of the Lord and save two nations!  And Joseph wasn’t bitter or angry!  He recognized God’s hand in his life, and forgave his brothers for the part they played in it all!  He was an amazing man and prophet!

The seminary manual states this about Joseph:

“The spiritual greatness of Joseph is a remarkable thing. How many people have become bitter over some real or imagined slight, or blamed the Lord for some personal tragedy? In the very midst of being faithful and holding true to that which is right, Joseph was falsely accused and thrown into prison. How easy it would have been for him to give up, to say, ‘What’s the use of trying to serve God? All He does is punish me.’ But there was not a trace of bitterness, no blaming the Lord. Joseph just continued being righteous and faithful. Unselfishly he offered to interpret the dreams of his two fellow prisoners, telling them that the knowledge came from God (see Genesis 40:8). He still trusted in the Lord, although he must have felt doomed to spend his life in prison. If any person had cause for discouragement and bitterness, it was Joseph, but he never faltered in his faith. Truly, Joseph is a model to be emulated” (Old Testament Student Manual: Genesis–2 Samuel, 3rd ed. [Church Educational System manual, 2003], 95).

And this quote:

Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught how the Lord used the evil designs of Joseph’s brothers to give Joseph amazing opportunities:

“You must trust the Lord; if you are righteous, his purposes will be served. Joseph in Egypt did just that, having many opportunities to become bitter over the way he was mistreated. He not only rose above his difficulties, but lifted others, feeding millions of starving people. Even though his brothers had intended to do evil to Joseph, the Lord used those evil designs to give Joseph opportunities far beyond his boyhood dreams!” (“I Am But a Lad,” New Era, May 1981, 5).

The Prophet Joseph Smith taught about not getting discouraged when facing difficulties. He once counseled his cousin George A. Smith:

“Never be discouraged. … If I were sunk in the lowest pit of Nova Scotia, with the Rocky Mountains piled on me, I would hang on, exercise faith, and keep up good courage, and I would come out on top” (in John Henry Evans, Joseph Smith: An American Prophet [1933], 9).
I was just thinking about the differences between Joseph’s responses and circumstances and what happened to our friend’s son.  One made choices which allowed him to save two nations, literally he saved the lives of millions of people (including their decedents).   The other, our friend, made choices that have cut his life short and now he has no opportunities—to save himself or any of his posterity.  Tragic.
I hope and pray that his family will be able to find peace and forgiveness for their feelings toward their son and brother and for the officer who performed his duties and took the life of their son.
Here is the story of an amazing man, who was able to do just that.  Enjoy the video!
I think there is a new movie out about Chris and his story–“Just Let Go”
Watch the movie.  Apply the principles!  Remember this season what you are thankful for and then tell God why!

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