Earlier this week, after feeling overwhelmed with the busyness of the day, I stopped to take a moment for myself. My mind was struggling to stop negative thoughts from creeping in. I needed to find something to be grateful for and FAST. But what? The usual thoughts are almost threadbare, I needed something new, something strong, and something that can last awhile.
As I was searching desperately through my memories, I saw the first kitchen cabinets I ever owned flash through my mind. That’s right! Those were mine! And not only were they mine but my very own father had put them in my home. And not only that, they were also the very same cabinets that I grew up with as a child.
For the FIRST TIME in my life, I felt an OVERWHELMING sense of love and gratitude for my childhood home, that would also become the first house I ever owned!
With the struggles of life, it is VERY EASY (as I am coming to find out) to focus on the here and now and strain to see into the future. But all that straining and all that persistence to get what you want, can negatively effect the way that we will live our futures. In THIS MOMENT I was given a gift, and I could feel it. It was so precious to me, it felt as if I had been given my Christmas present early!
For the last few days I have been wondering HOW Heavenly Father is helping me and if I can see HOW He does? This new memory helped me answer this question. I now know that Heavenly Father helps me by creating opportunities for me to learn and grow in ways I NEVER thought I could. But He doesn’t set me up for failure. Instead, He is always setting me up for success. . . no matter how long it takes me to realize that it WAS a success!
I still remember the day Paul and I were prompted to buy my mother’s house. She was moving and NEEDED to have a new start. Paul and I had been interested in building a home but had felt it wasn’t time just yet. Then the feeling came over both of us to buy my childhood home. WHAT?!?
“NOT THAT HOME! ANYTHING but THAT HOME! WHY would I be prompted to live someplace that has had so many sad memories, mixed with the good memories?”
WHY was Heavenly Father doing this to me and why now? Our own daughter had just recently passed away, making 2 deaths in my own family, back to back. I didn’t know how I could face the people in my childhood neighborhood. Would they think I was cursed? Would they only bring up my past and not let me be the person I was working on becoming? Would they exclude me from things, just because of who my family is, or even worse, would they except me but not my family? I just didn’t know . . . but I obeyed anyway.
And I am SO THANKFUL that I did!
Because although there were difficult times living in this house, I had MORE SUCCESSFUL times than I can possibly remember. And now, looking back on those days, I am FILLED with the love, kindness, respect, sacrifice, service, help, friendship and compassion that not only my neighborhood had for me but my own family.
Now when I remember my first home, I can imagine touching those countertops and feeling the years of love that were experienced there. The pain and the heart-ache have all but melted away because HERE I had been loved! Thanks Dad for the tender, detailed care you put into the kitchen. I thoroughly enjoyed the 7.5 years I owned the home myself. Each time I was in the kitchen, it ALWAYS made me remember you. I love you Dad!
This is our dining nook. This is where family dinners were eaten, as the sun slowly set at night. This is where family stories were told, until the laughter made us cry. This is where my youngest siblings learned how to eat, walk and talk, as well as 2 of my own. This is where hope was found and encouraged to grow and then stored for a later time in our lives.
This home NOW (10 years after moving away from here) brings me immense joy. Had Paul and I not allowed this experience to happen, I would not have the memories of the past to comfort me today. As President Thomas S. Monson once quoted, “God gave us memories, that we might have June roses in the December of our lives.” I am so grateful for this sweet house, for the sweetness of many years of my life spent here and for the depth it created for me to do hard things and not give up because possibly, one day, these hard times felt right now too could become sweet memories for me to remember.
Thanks for the beautiful June roses Mom. I truly enjoyed them while they lasted and I always tried to use them wisely. Especially over Memorial Day weekend. I love you Mom!
Thanks for listening,