November 06, 2016

A Tale of Two Women of Faith

This is a Tale of Two Women of Faith.

There are times in our lives when we realize we are surrounded by some truly inspiring people. I was reminded of that this weekend. Let me tell you about it--them.

The first of these two women in my tale is Lady Hiva. She is truly a woman who as gone through the refiners fire over the years. (You can read about that in White Lilies in Autumn or on this blog..there are others) Yet, she is a tremendous example of faith. No, she is not perfect, none of us are, but she is truly striving to be the best person she can be. And that is why I am glad I get eternity to learn from her. In the past I have written about they way she makes personal decisions with character and values. She always trying to be better.

As many of you know, and if you don't you will now, that in the LDS Church there are two weekends a year (April and October) we have what we call General Conference. Instead of going to the local chapel we watch as the Prophet and other Church leaders from Salt Lake City speak. The messages are of hope, faith, love and how we can become better disciples of Christ. This year one of these leaders challenged us to pray to know about people who need help or to feel loved. We were promised that if we sincerely want to help others, they would be placed in our path. Sounds like an easy request, right? Of course...then life gets busy, things happen...and then, like me, you realize the challenge was forgotten. However, Lady Hiva reminded me we needed to pray to help others. As we prayed at night before we go to bed we would include that in our prayer.

One day I was walking out of work and saw a woman, whom we will call "C." I was surprised to see her, and she was surprised to see me. C lived in the same congregation as Lady Hiva and I in Washington, DC several years ago. We became friends with C through our activities are Church and then we moved overseas. We quickly exchanged information and went on our way. Me thinking it was a fun coincidence.

C contacted Lady Hiva that day and they talked and we went over to have a lovely dinner with C a few days later.As you may have guessed by now, C is the second woman of faith in my tale. As we caught up with C we learned that the last few years have been hard on her. She experienced some of the hardest things this world can throw at us: financial problems, health problems, death of family members, unemployment, homelessness....the list goes on and on. Yet, as she told us of these experiences it was not a litany of problems where she was looking for sympathy. Instead, it was an amazing story of faith and love. She told us of the her prayers that were answered, the people who were guided to come to the rescue. It was inspiring to see the light in her eyes, full of gratitude, even amidst all the trials.

As we left Lady Hiva pointed out that it was not a coincidence that C and I walked through the door together that day. C was an answer to our prayers. As we were promised in General Conference, someone was LITERALLY, not just figuratively, was placed in my path. But in the way that service works, instead of us showing love, we were instead touched and inspired by C.

The story continues. This weekend I woke up early to join C at the iconic Salt Lake City temple. One of the things about the LDS Church I love the most is that through the sacred ordinances in the temple  we can be families forever. C was going to the temple to have those ordinances done for her parents and grandparents so that she, too, could be an eternal family with her. I was glad to be part of that with her. I arrived at the temple in the darkness of the morning and was so pleased to see that there were hundreds of youth (young men and women ages 12-18) serving in the temple even before 0600h. I am sure that there was so much more they could be doing, and thought about the way they have to live to be able to enter the temple. And the way they must have cut Friday night activities short to be up at 0430h to make it to the temple on time. That alone was enough to fill my heart with gratitude.

Lady Hiva later joined us and as I sat in the temple with these women of faith I realized that I have so much to be thankful for. And because of their faith I was strengthened. Some truths came out of it--that if we strive to love others with true, genuine love, we are strengthened just as they are. I learned that with the busyness of life it is easy to forget to look for those who need help. I have learned I am happiest when I am engaged in good. I also learned that prayer works.

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