Wednesday, December 2, 2015

For President Faulkner

I got a message from an old mission companion.  Apparently President Faulkner's birthday is coming up and his daughter is trying to collect letters and emails from his missionaries as a gift.  I decided that I should probably keep a copy for me.
 
Hola Presidente!

Happy Birthday!  (only the best people have birthdays in December!) I've thought about writing you letters many times over the past couple of years, but never really knew exactly how to get it to you. I know, "no hay excusos", but life just happens sometimes.

The first letter I was going to write you was a couple Christmas' ago.  We got a new stake president and Elder Cook came to the meeting.  In his Saturday night talk, he spoke about missionaries and why and how they are assigned.  It echoed something I heard in the MTC.  Basically, he said that many times we are assigned not necessarily where we can do the most good, but with the mission president that can do us the most good.  I know...no pressure there.  You did good.  I learned so much.  Funny how 10 years (can we really say that!?!) can really put things into perspective.

*"No hay excusos" applies to so many more things than obedience as a missionary. 
*The church's statement in November about children of same sex parents rocked the world.  I've been working with the youth for the past 3 years and one of my young women asked me what I thought of the new policies. Because of experiences I had on the mission (specifically when we started baptizing families and not just people), I was able to give her a coherent answer and invite her to ask the Lord for her own understanding and peace. (She found the peace she needed and just got a mission call!)
*Hna Faulkner always told me to write down experiences that I had so that I wouldn't forget them. (That applies more now, but I'll get to that in a little bit.)
A few months ago a heard about your cancer.  That was another letter that I was going to write you.  I even bought a card for you and promptly lost it on my desk. (I promise that I'll send it when I finally find it.)  I wanted to thank you for everything, your love, your support, your sacrifice, your hard words (sometimes I needed to hear them), EVERYTHING!  I know, the mission doesn't need to be the best 18 months, but I would easily call them some of the most influential months of my life. You were part of that and you made sure that I was a part of that.

The most recent letter that I almost sent (and I guess that I am sending) came about a month after I found out about your cancer.  My mom was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer at the end of September.  I'll agree with your daughters favorite hashtag, #CANCERSUCKS. As hard as it has been, I haven't been angry. I've never blamed the Lord and I've never questioned His plan.  Sometimes I wonder if that is active faith or an emotional apathy, but I'm sure I'll get that sorted out eventually. I guess the reason that I wanted to tell you that is because I wanted your advice on what I could do for her. You've been there. You've done the chemo thing. You know what it feels like.  I don't. I'm in Utah and she's in Nebraska and I want to help and be supportive, but it's a little more difficult when there are 2 states between you.  I know that the Lord is with her and taking care of her and I've seen more miracles over the past 3 months that I have at any other time since my mission. He's with me. He's taking care of me. He's giving me the opportunity to see and remember these miracles.  I've been writing a lot more lately and it has been good to remember and even more than that it's been therapeutic! Who would have guessed!?! (Thanks Hermana!)

I mentioned active faith and emotional apathy.  This is something that I've been thinking about for a few years.  For a while, I adopted "life happens" as a mantra. I had a job that I didn't love and didn't feel like I was progressing in my life. I decided it was depressing.  I found Romans 8:38-39 "For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Life does happen. Cancer happens. Bad jobs happen.  Single adulthood happens.  So many things happen that could easily make us unhappy, upset and even angry.  Just because these things happen doesn't mean that they have to separate us from our Heavenly Father.  We can choose to see His love and His guiding influence or we can choose to not.  I choose to find His love. 

I hope you and your family are finding that love too.

Merry Christmas!

and

Happy Birthday!!!

Much love,

Hermana Williams

3 comments:

Becky said...

I just found a sesame street birthday card that I bought for my mom two or three years ago. It was timely, as her birthday was a few days away, so I mailed it, hooray!
I have been bad at writing too, but I'm trying to fix that.

Alissa said...

Oh Shandy dear!!!! I want to wrap a big old hug around you. Welcome back to the blog world! If there is anything I can do in your name to help, love and support your mom, you let me know dear. I hope to see you soon. And ps. Happy early birthday. !!...should really do this all in an email. ...all the same love ya!!!!!

Alissa said...

Oh Shandy dear!!!! I want to wrap a big old hug around you. Welcome back to the blog world! If there is anything I can do in your name to help, love and support your mom, you let me know dear. I hope to see you soon. And ps. Happy early birthday. !!...should really do this all in an email. ...all the same love ya!!!!!