I love my calling as an ARP missionary. I’m not at liberty to share the thoughts or comments of those who attend, but I can share with you what I am personally learning. I have such a testimony of this program. When you work it, it works. One of the blessings of being in this program, is I get to work it over and over again. It’s an amazing process because every time we go through the 12 steps of change, the Lord teaches me something new. Tonight, as I went, following the funeral of my mother-in-law Saturday, my heart was feeling particularly weighed down.
Everyone who’s been in a family or been through a death of a family member knows that it takes time to mourn, work through emotions and even family struggles. Our family isn’t any different and we’ve had our share of family trials, tribulations and shortcomings.
Bob wrote the beautiful life story of his beloved mother and then I typed it up and delivered it to one of her dear friends and caregivers to look over and add any personal thoughts desired. She and her amazing spouse did so beautifully. They truly honored her in life and in death.
The funeral was beautiful and so many tender and loving words were expressed. It was as if for a moment, everyone allowed that hallowed time to remember only the good things about an amazing woman. The service she gave in her lifetime was exemplary to say the least. It was such a beautiful experience to hear all of the love from so many and their stories of how she had been a blessing to so many.
I think funerals can be a little like social media where a picture perfect world is painted without fault or fallacy. I think we do it out of respect and I think this is important.
I feel like its okay to say our family is anything, but perfect. Family situations were less than ideal. There were hurt feelings, resentments, and arguments. There have been unkind exchanges, unrealistic expectations and unfulfilled wishes.
Something I’ve realized in the end, some things simply don’t matter. We are born, we live and all we take back with us is an accounting of our lives. All we have is the knowledge we gain. We don’t get to take our cars or our houses, only how we treated those children of a loving Heavenly Father who lived around us. Unfortunately we often treat those whom we love the most the worst. We take them for granted. I think it’s because we expect perfection from them. Only problem is not everyone’s definition of perfection is the same or even attainable in this life.
I haven’t known my mother in-law for as long as her children or parents, but I’ve had the opportunity to get to know her over the past 25 years that I have been married to her Bobby. I was blessed to spend time with her before her stroke and after. I saw Ginger at her very worst and at her very best. There were times I was so mad at her I could spit nails. There was a time that I quite literally had to remove myself from her for my personal sanity and for hers too. There were times that I hurt her feelings and she hurt mine. I will be honest, it was harder living so close. Funny thing is it was Bob’s parents advice to us when we got married to move as far away from both sets of parents so we could bond and be a family. They knew the challenges that come with living too close. We did this for the first ten years of our marriage and we learned to depend on each other.
It wasn’t a mistake to move closer when we did. Bob’s dad got cancer and Bob literally carried both families when his dad was too sick to work. They wouldn’t have made it financially had we not been here. Bob was the hands that did the work, while his dad walked him through the how, often laying on his back on the job, too weak from the Chemo to do it himself. What a blessing that was to help them stay afloat during that time. Don’t think for a minute that the sacrifices were only one sided. Ginger sacrificed a pay check to make sure we had what we needed. I guess you can say our helping her out this last year, by giving her money for the purpose of hiring out help and paying for personal expenses was our way of returning the favor, she was finally getting her pay for the months she worked for free. So what did she do with those funds? She made sure she hired those individuals who needed her love and care. She continued to serve those in need. I hope we can continue to honor that legacy of service and that our children will carry that forward as well.
It’s so strange that we have lived here close to 15 years and both of Bob’s parents have passed. Even as difficult as it has been with all the crappy days and many good days, I would do it again because it has shaped me in a way I wouldn’t have been with out it. It’s been a refining fire.
Tonight, as I was reading through step five in the addiction recovery manual on confession, it spoke about how after we make a personal inventory, we begin to recognize patterns of personal weakness that influence our choices. We started to understand our tendencies toward negative thoughts and emotions (self-will, fear, pride, self pity, jealousy, self righteousness, anger, resentment, unbridled passions and desires, and so on.) These thoughts and emotions were truly the exact nature of our wrongs.
When there are heavy needs with our aging loved ones, especially when care is involved and the responsibility isn’t or can’t be shared, it’s not uncommon for families to have feelings of resentment. I realized last night that I was carrying some within myself and have done so many times in my lifetime. I was so grateful when the spirit directed me to a book on my bed stand before attending ARP meeting.
Sister Wendy Watson taught the following,” There is power in prayer. There is power in praying to have obstacles removed that are preventing us from being our true selves.
Obstacles may be relationships that are blocking our progression. They may be addictions that hold us prisoner or resentments that eat away at the light and truths we know and that we know and that fill us with bitterness.
You can’t be your true self if you are resentful. Here’s the truth:
In a crucible like situation, if you spend the entire time being resentful and bitter, you will be less, not more, of your true self at the end. And that would be more terrible than the situation you’re in!
That glorious spirit of yours, that true essence of who you really are, will begin shrinking and become brittle–and it won’t take much to break it. You will always feel as though you are just on the edge of “losing it.”
Resentment is Toxic!
It prevents us from feeling love.
It can stop us from experiencing light and truth because we don’t seek for and can’t fully enjoy the companionship of the Holy Ghost. Yet it is when we are miserable, self centered and full of envy that we need the companionship of the Holy Ghost more than ever!
What can we do? Start with prayer. Let Heavenly Father know that we want to- really want to -lay down our resentments. The spirit will come to our aid. The spirit can bring back to memory strengths that we’ve been discounting.
The Holy Ghost can bring all things to our remembrance, not so we can marinate our hearts in others mistakes or brood about others blunders-but so we can finally remove those destructive weapons of war from our hearts, one by one, and bury each one, and bury each one just as the converted Lamanites did.
As we look to each experience in the revealing light of the Holy Ghost–instead of through the dark shadows of the adversary–past experiences can look very different.
So the following morning after pondering more, I got on my knees and asked my heavenly father to remove all my resentment. I recognized how much it had been cankering my soul. I no longer wanted it. I prayed that my heart would be filled with Charity. I recommitted my life again to follow my Savior. (I have to do this often) I set all that was bothering me in the hands of my all knowing father. I feel a warm peace and know He is mindful of me. Now, I must be careful not to pick up that resentment again. I have a testimony that God lives and has the power to remove burdens from our hearts. I know he answers prayers. I pray that I will never forget the lessons learned in moving here. I pray we can honor the legacy of Eugene and Ginger Kinderknecht. I miss them, but I know we shall meet again.
A few days ago I found saying, “If you focus on the hurt, you will continue to suffer. If you focus on the lesson, you will continue to grow. After this experience, I know this is true.