Tuesday, November 23, 2010

# 23 ~ Light

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I am grateful for Light.

"Someday all you'll have to light the way will be a single ray of hope - and that will be enough." ~ Kobi Yamada

I am sure I am not alone in being grateful for Light. I am sure most people love light, but I want to share a story in order to explain why I love Light so much.

When I was 21, I left home to go on my mission for our church. I had been called to England and I was so excited since we have ancestry from there. I spent nearly three weeks in the Missionary Training Center in Provo, then boarded a plane in Salt Lake City the first week of January 1999. I was flying with about 9 or 10 other missionaries, who were also going to England on their missions.

Our first layover was in Chicago. I don't remember it being a long layover, I think we boarded the next plane fairly quickly, but after boarding the plane that would take us to Europe, they had some problem with the plane and something had to be checked. Well, we all sat on the plane waiting for over 4 hours.
We finally took off and flew over the ocean and landed in Belgium, I think. It was one of those small countries over there. Because of our delay in Chicago, we missed our connecting flight and had to sit around / sleep in the Belgium (I think) airport for over 9 hours.

When we finally got our connecting flight to England, we were all exhausted and hungry. We didn't have much money, so we had all contributed to one pizza, I believe, for all of us. That flight was only about an hour long, and when we finally landed in Birmingham, England, it was really dark and really cold.

Originally, we were supposed to show up in time to have dinner with the Mission President and his wife and get acquainted. Then stay at the bed and breakfast that night, then the next morning our trainers would get there, we would all go through some training and get to know you type stuff, then travel back to our new areas with our trainers. Well, this did not happen. We got in so late, they took us straight over to the bed and breakfast where we were meant to stay and dropped us off there and bid us good night. Well, we were all still tired, cold, and starving, so we called for take out so that we could eat before bed.

The next morning, we were up so early, it was still very dark and very cold outside. They picked us up and drove us to the Mission Office in the dark. After we got there, we went into a room and waited as each of us was to have an interview with the Mission President. It had not been a good couple of days. I was already feeling very out of my element. I was away from home for the first time in my life. I only knew the people I had been traveling with. Everyone was welcoming, but the darkness and cold were not giving me any sort of warm and fuzzy feelings about where I was or what I was to be doing. I was feeling very alone and my emotions were all over the place... on the inside. Of course I tried to look strong.

When it came time for my interview with the Mission President, President Spallino, I walked in and we started to talk. He told me that he knew my Dad and that he had worked with him at the church office building. That was the first thing that happened after leaving Utah that made me feel a little bit better. He asked if I would join a mission choir that they were putting together and I agreed. I was still feeling very alone. Still, I couldn't get past the fact that all I had seen so far in that country was darkness and cold. I wish I could express what was going through my mind. I wish I could express how alone I was feeling. I had even begun wondering what I was doing there and if I was really meant to be there. All kinds of things were going through my mind at that point... discouraging things.

At one point, President Spallino walked over to the curtains and opened them. Immediately, the room that had once only been lit by unnatural light was flooded with sunlight that was coming through an overcast sky. I didn't even care that it was not full blown sunlight, just natural light itself was so brilliant.

As I looked out the window, I saw the greenest grass you can imagine seeing in the middle of winter and there was a layer of fog hovering over the grass. Proof enough that I was in England. You could still tell it was really cold outside, but just seeing the natural light come into the room was all I needed to feel an amazing feeling of peace, comfort, and my loneliness was gone. I immediately felt God's love and peace filling my heart and my soul. It was one of the most amazing feelings I have ever had and I will never forget it.

"They may as well have called the sun a ball of flaming joy." ~Terri Guillemets

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After Aaron passed away, those first few months were spent at my parents house in their guest room. Aaron Jr and I shared that room and there was a dark piece of fabric put over the window so that we could keep the room dark longer in the day. I liked it that way. It helped Aaron Jr and I to sleep through much of the morning after I would cry most of the night. Lots of times, my Mom would suggest that I pull that fabric back to let some light into the room... but I rarely did it. I was in a dark place, I was sad and hurting, and I just wanted to feeling the pain in any way that I could. I don't remember when I did start pulling it back more often to let the light in, but eventually I did and it made the room feel better.

Nothing good can come from keeping ourselves in the dark. Breaking free into the light is where we will find our hope and strength and our desire to be happy.

"Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you." ~Maori Proverb

Light is compared to so many wonderful things.
Light is compared to knowledge.
Light is compared to hope.
Light can describe someone's countenance.
Light represents safety.
Light represents truth.
Light represents righteousness, goodness.
Light represents Holiness.
Light represents Christ.

"I have told you this that ye may learn wisdom, that ye may learn of me that there is no other way or means whereby man can be saved, only in and through Christ. Behold, he is the life and the light of the world." ~ Alma 38:9

"Light is good from whatever lamp it shines." ~ Author Unknown

In a letter that Aaron wrote to me while we were both serving our missions, me in England and Aaron in Brasil, we discussed with each other how much we both loved LightHouses. One of the reasons being what a lighthouse represents for us. Christ. This is why I designed the back of the headstone this way:

I couldn't have said it better myself. I love that quote from Aaron.

"I believe in Jesus Christ just as I believe in the rising sun; not because I can see it, but because of it, I can see everything else." ~ C.S. Lewis

I am so grateful for Light in all of its forms, everything that it represents, and all the ways we are blessed by it.

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Lisa Carter said...

That was beautiful. Truly. I am one who is very affected by light. There are stores that I don't shop in because of their light. I know that light is the only thing that matters. There will come a time that we are defined by our light, and there will be no hiding it. I hope to be able to gain as much light here as I can. It is through such great examples like you, that my light can also shine.

Love ya

Lisa said...

wonderful message. i'm glad you've come out of the darkness some...in real life AND on your blog. :)

Rhitzclan said...

They didn't even feed you when you first got there?? Dang! I loved reading this b/c I put myself in your shoes immediately- feeling those same things when I first got to England. You captured it perfectly. Thank you for your post and your eternal perspective, as always. I love you Ell!

Tiffany said...

Beautiful. Your insights always leave me inspired to DO and BE a little better. Thank you.

Michelle Bretzing Jacobi said...

It was fun to read about your mission and when you talked about Presiden Spallino I had to smile. I knew him well. I am friends with his daughter Gianna. It is a small world. My father worked at the church office building too.