Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tender Mercies

Mr. Beadle's brother, David, donated bone marrow for the transplant ~ a very painful procedure for the donor.
During the last part of 1997 and the beginning of 1998, during Mr. Beadle’s treatment for leukemia (AML) which included preparing for a bone marrow transplant, he spent many weeks in the “bubble” room up at the University. No one with a hint of a runny nose (his 2 young sons) could visit him there. Fortunately, i was able to stay well enough to spend lots of time with him. And i had great support from my friends and family. They loved our boys and cared for them so that we could spend that time together. And then there were the blessed days that he was able to come home. At home, he didn’t have nurses to flush his lines and administer his meds and a dietitian to plan his meals and a cafeteria staff to prepare them and a custodial staff to keep everything sanitary. That would be me. And we could all be together. Yay!

I hate to admit that even though i was thrilled to have that time we could be together as a family, it was very difficult and overwhelming to care for all of Mr. Beadle’s physical needs and take care of the kids while trying to hold myself and my whole world together.

One icy January day, Mr. Beadle was home, in his Papa Bear chair in the front room. He was resting and reading (He read the New Testament again and the Old Testament and all of Cleon Skousen’s books. He told me later that he wanted to recognize the prophets when he met them). I had given him a little bell that he could ring if he needed me. I was trying to keep the boys occupied or at least keep their volume down to a minimum and I was supposed to plan lunch and in a few minutes i needed to flush Mr. Beadle’s PICC line (i think that’s what they called it — he had a permanent IV line that ran straight into his heart) and i don’t remember, probably a thousand other things were either on my to-do list or running through my mind. Anyway, i just lost it. I was completely overwhelmed and alone and sad and afraid.

I went into our spare room and knelt down by the bed and just threw it out there: “I can’t do this alone.” Immediately, i was enveloped in a huge hug. I felt warm. I felt peace. I felt love. I literally felt the arms of God around me. I remember thinking, “I want to stay in this cozy bubble forever.” And just at that exact moment, just as soon as that thought had wriggled loose o' the gray matter, the tinkling of that confounded little bell pierced my peace.
My bubble turned to glass—shattered. Cold. Sharp.

And angry.

Why did you leave me? I said i couldn’t do it alone! Didn’t you hear me? This is exactly like so many years ago. The emptiness. The way i can never get back the feeling of newborn Wesley on my chest. It’s not right. It isn’t fair!
We lost our first baby, Wesley in a car accident in 1992. He was 3 months old.
Fast-forward 13 and a half years.

I have a lovely family and a marriage that gets stronger every day. Mr. LeFevre is a gem. Really. The best. Not that we haven’t struggled, but we have together on this earth, 6 beautiful children and a relatively warm home and none of our children have killed any of the others yet. And we have our health. Who can complain, right? Trust me, Lorinda can always find a reason and a way to complain.

I complain about my home (it's warmer now—thanks, Chad).
I complain about my marriage (even though it gets better and better, there are still hard days).
I complain about my children (yes, the beautiful ones).
I complain about my body (the reasonably attractive, relatively healthy, occasionally pain-free one).
I complain about the things I am “supposed to” do:
wipe noses,
wipe bums,
wipe counters, wash laundry, plan food, cook food, clean up food,
pay bills, read my scriptures, say my prayers, go to meetings.

I especially complained for many years about saying my prayers and reading my scriptures. And I didn’t do it very much. Praying felt like talking to the ceiling. I never once got “the hug” again.

And the scriptures? The scriptures just infuriated me. Are these people who pick up the Book of Mormon and can't put it down again even reading the same book? Are they? All I could find were contradictions and whenever I read I became angry and confused.

Still, I go to my meetings. You know, the 14th article of faith: "We believe in meetings, we have endured many meetings and hope to be able to endure all meetings. If there is any reason for a meeting, we seek after these things." I didn’t make that up, but neither did Joseph Smith, who wrote the first 13. It’s kinda true, though.

And whenever I think, “i don’t really need to go to Relief Society today, I could go home and take a nap” or “i should go home and fix dinner right now—no one will miss me” and then i end up staying, there is always something there for me. And I’m glad that I stayed. And I think it’s ok that some days I only went because I was “supposed to” go.

Here’s a little secret: did you know that the “extra” meetings are a bonus? I’m talking about Leadership meetings and Stake Relief Society Meetings and the Adult Saturday night sessions of Stake Conference. the ones where no one will know if you don’t go. Don't tell anyone, but these are the best meetings.

So... let’s skip back to last Fall (2011): i’m sitting in the meeting for the women of the church (on a Saturday night... who goes to church on Saturday night?) where President Uchtdorf is telling us via satellite transmission not to be too hard on ourselves and to remember that the Lord loves us and when he says (to me),
“Wherever you are, whatever your circumstances may be, you are not forgotten. No matter how dark your days may seem, no matter how insignificant you may feel, no matter how overshadowed you think you may be, your Heavenly Father has not forgotten you. He loves you with an infinite love.You are known and remembered by the most majestic, powerful, and glorious Being in the universe! You are loved by the King of infinite space and everlasting time! He who created and knows the stars knows you and your name—you are a daughter of His kingdom. God loves you because you are His child. He loves you even though at times you may feel lonely or make mistakes. My dear sister, you are closer to heaven than you suppose. You are destined for more than you can possibly imagine.”

Or when i go with my new friends who have been called to serve
with me in the Young Women’s presidency of our ward to Young Women’s leadership training meeting and Elaine Dalton tells me (me!), “God knows you. He knows your strengths and your weaknesses. You were hand-picked to be in this place at this time.”
In these 2 moments, there could not have been a more powerful witness to me if my Savior, himself had been standing there talking to me. I knew it was true. I felt the warmth. I felt the love. I got another hug. And then I walked outside and I wasn’t “in” his arms. I didn’t feel it still. But I couldn’t deny that it had happened. I knew it and i knew that God knew it and I realized right then that those moment are gifts. My Heavenly Father hadn’t left me. I can feel that feeling again. I just have to go to “meetings.” And i mean the kind of meetings with just me and God: the super-extra meetings—when no one, no one knows you are there. I can read the scriptures over again as I would a letter from my mom(they might annoy me sometimes, but there is always something there for me). I can confide in him like i would a dear friend. I can remember the feeling and believe it or not, i may even be getting better at feeling it.
And it feels good.