The next morning I awoke with a new excitement to go to the cemetery; I assumed my special moment in my car would be continued at his grave. I was hopeful that as soon as I got there we would share yet another special time.
We headed out early. It was sprinkling a little bit, and I hoped that our drive would bring us to some better weather. It did not; the closer we got to the cemetery, the more the rain came down.
The hill up to the headstones was thick mud; the snow had melted and the water that remained had turned everything to slop.
As we pulled up I could see some of Emmett's family members already standing around the grave. I had planned on seeing them at his Aunt's house later, but inside I was disappointed that I wasn't going to be there alone with him.
It was raining so hard that the kids didn't even really want to get out of the car. What I thought was going to the perfect moment... turned out to be a dirty, cold, wet mess. I didn't get to stand over him and yell all the pain in my heart; I didn't get to scream at him how lonely I had been feeling. I didn't get to tell him how bad it hurt that I missed him; I was longing to share all the thoughts that had been eating at me. I wanted to ask a whole lot of Whys. All of these perfect words I had laid out in mind to say that day... were left stirring inside of me.
The kids came out and put the flower wreath down on the grass. The headstone wasn't up yet, and grass hadn't had time to grow. It didn't look like a grave. It looked like a pile of mud. I had this picture in my mind that we would sit on the grass and cry together. I thought for sure we would spend all morning talking about the memories of their Father. Instead we ran through the rain to throw flowers on the mud. My expectations wanted to explode.
In my disappointment, we drove over to Emmett's Aunt's house. It was strange being there without him. These people that I still loved so much; were still sad just like us. It was hard to see that they still had pain in their eyes too. It was relieving to me that they too were still seeking for peace; I wasn't alone on that. They still had so many unanswered questions as to why Rob had pulled that trigger, and why Emmett was not at home with me that night. We didn't say a word about any of it, but I could feel it radiating from each of them. It felt nice to be with some of Emmett's favorite people; we had spent many wonderful memories with each of them. He loved them more than most people love their own siblings. They were not Aunts and Uncles and cousins to him... they were all at the top of his world... they were all his family. Leaving them that day, I could feel each one of them hug us with all the love they had for him. My eyes burned as I thought about all the hugs he would not get to give; for all the memories these people still wanted to share with him.
We got back to Logan just in time to go to church with one of Tiffanie's family friends. I felt empty inside... still longing for the moment I had missed at his grave. I felt like everyone in the church could see my pain. I was overwhelmed with anxiety... like everyone was watching me and wondering why I didn't have myself put together, and why my kids were being disruptive and loud. Instead of seeking for the calm in the building, or reassurance in the speakers and music... I sat there bitter and angry. I didn't fold my arms in reverence, I crossed them in disgust.
I was so distraught about our visit to the grave, I almost considered having a do over the next day so I could go back and have the special moment I was still waiting for. Instead the kids played with old friends and swam in the Hotel pool. I spent a lot of that weekend looking at Real Estate; I went through a handful of houses... hoping to find an answer, still wondering if I should move back.
Nothing felt right. I got a few texts and phone calls from Walmart boy... that didn't feel right either. I was so confused; my heart longed for more Walmart moments where I could feel the faith Emmett had in me.. and I wanted him to continue to guide me. Why did these moments feel like I was back on my own? Why couldn't he just always be in the seat next to me... helping me remember my worth and helping me push forward? Nothing settled, and I got frustrated that no answers seemed to be getting me to where I wanted to be.... I knew it wasn't right, but kept trying all weekend into forcing it to be so.
Driving back home, I grew a little bit bitter; angry that I didn't get the moment I had planned at his grave and scared that moving back to Logan had not felt like the right choice after all. If we weren't supposed to be there... than what were we supposed to be doing? I was pissed that the answer, that had felt so simple and laid out in front of me, on our drive to Logan... now just seemed like a dream I was trying to push on my own.
We stopped to see Tiffanie's family. While we sitting in their living room I said, "Hey Uncle Dave.. I feel like I need a more reliable car. Don't you have a friend who owns a car dealership?' I had my heart set on getting a Sequoia; Emmett and I had planned for months that that was the car we were going to buy. Dave's friend had one on his lot, so we drove over to take a look.
We pulled up to the lot and right in my view was parked this giant Yukon. The minute I saw it I got chills all over my body. I had never had a spiritual experience with a car before; I almost laughingly turned to Dave and said, "That is the car I am supposed to buy right there... of course I am not going to get what I want today." He laughed, "I am not sure that car is for sale... it isn't parked by the other cars in the lot, but we can ask."
His friend walked over to us and said, "So you are wanting to know more about Sequoias?". I looked at him and said, "I think that big Yukon over there is the car I am supposed to buy. I had my heart set on your other car, but I want to look at that one first. Is it for sale?" It had just gotten back from a test drive and hadn't been put back in its spot.
We took it for test drive. It felt so right. That feeling I had been seeking all day.... was finally here, and it was about a car? I didn't want answers about a car.... I was seeking long term revelation. It seemed so insignificant and unimportant. I am so not a car person, so I knew this had to be a prompting to buy this exact vehicle. It was bigger, newer, and more reliable. That made me happy when I knew I would be traveling alone with the kids. I was excited to have extra room in the car if we ever had a friend come home with us; we had gotten to the point in our little mini van that we filled up every seat. So I could see some good that would come out of buying this new car, but was frustrated that the answers I was wanting answered seemed to be the last thing on Heavenly Father's list of important things to help me on.
I had no idea why I was supposed to buy that car that day, but it felt good to be making a choice that I had not thought of on my own. It didn't make a lot sense at the time, but the weeks that followed would show me exactly why I was supposed to buy it. I was searching the whole weekend for BIG answers for my family; I was was trying hard to force things to feel right. Moving to Logan was not the answer to my prayers. I wanted to do what was best for my family, but was having a hard time seeing why my ideas were not enough.
When we do his will... it can be so powerful. When we force to follow our own, we can cause more pain and hard times for ourselves.
I remember a time in 8th grade when I had on my calendar to attend, every Saturday, a ski club for my school. We would meet at the school parking lot and ride the buses up to the hill and spend the day skiing together. I loved every time that we went; I always looked forward to the next trip.
One day as I was preparing to head up the mountain for my evening ski trip, my mom came into my room. She said, "Ashlee... I have a really bad feeling about today. I don't want you to go." Well... this idea seemed perposterous to my young 14 year old mind. I had my mind made up, and I was not going to stay home.
My Mom felt so strongly about it, that she wouldn't even drive me to the school. I found a ride with a friend and got on the bus to head up the hill. It was like any other normal bus trip: kids were laughing; boys were flirting; the snacks were yummy; and everyone was having a great time.
We were almost to the top of the mountain when our bus stopped working and began to slide down hill. Luckily instead of sliding off the hill, we got stuck. We spent that evening in a cold broken down bus. We waited for hours for the back up to come and bail us out.
I arrived home way passed midnight... to a Mom I can only assume had been praying her heart out that whole night. She threw her arms around me and said, "I am so thankful you are ok." We went to bed. She never said, "I told you so." She didn't rub it in my face. She just showed me how much she loved me and that she was grateful that everything was ok.
My mother taught me a great lesson that day. She had a will... she had a plan for me that she knew would have been easy. She felt strongly about what I needed to do, yet she knew that I had to learn for myself. How much easier would it have been to just listen to the counsel I was being given? Why did I, as her daughter, feel the need to skip over the easy way, and go through the pain and fear that followed my choice?
I think she is not the only parent who has wondered that about me at times. Heavenly Father knows exactly what would be best for us... he has a plan, and a purpose for the potential he sees inside of us and the decisions we make in our days. He cannot force us to do anything that we don't want to do; he will send us warnings and counsel over and over... but eventually we will have to chose for ourselves. He will not force us to His will... but he willingly sends us His counsel and advise.
When you feel that you don't know which way to chose... let the spirit guide you. He cares about all the decisions that you are making, no matter how trivial you think they must seem to him.
He wants us, as parents, to give our children correct principles... then at some point we have to let go and let them govern themselves. They will learn from their mistakes more than they will learn from us forcing them to do what we want them to. It would have been easy for my Mom to force me into following the promptings she had for me. I would have been safe and her worries would have been soothed for the moment; but I wouldn't have learned the lesson of losing the spirit and finding out for myself how alone I felt without it. l needed to know that the counsels given to me were there for my good. I had to learn by doing.... not just hearing what I was supposed to do.
I wanted nothing more than to move to Logan.... I thought that it was the answer to my pain. I truly believed that the feelings that I was pushing inside of myself about my plan were going to be followed by the inspiration on how it would all work out. It all seemed so rational and simple in my own mind... and apparently I would have a date if I moved back. I tried to force my will at the grave that day. I longed to hear his voice again, and wished that my desires would be the will of God. I was angry when my designed plan did not match his, the ease and perfection of my own plan seemed like just the choices I needed to make... but I could feel that it was not what Heavenly Father wanted for me.
He didn't need me to force anything... He was mapping my course. At times it felt like I stood on a winding road... that didn't have any direction or purpose, but each day I have been blessed to see the Why's of his plan for me.
Even this very blog was not an idea of my own. I spent hours in the temple and in my silent closet begging him for a different way to find the healing that was promised to me. I wrestled with the spirit and the promptings that had pushed me for years to share the personal lessons and darkest hours of my life. I have had many times that I have questioned his will... and just like my patient Mother, He has waited for me to see that His will is greater than my own.
Heavenly Father has a plan for each one of his children; He sees their unlimited potential... no matter where they have been or where they are choosing to go. The limitations that we find in our lives are not because of His will... but are of our own.... or the will of someone else.
There have been many moments on my path, that others have set my course by the decisions of their agency and the choices that they have made. I don't know how this works for our Heavenly Father... I am sure his heart hurts as he sees our pain being caused, at no fault of our own.
These are the crossroads that our own agency gets to take a stand. Some choose, at that time, to retaliate... thinking that God has abandoned them, and that he has forgotten their promised plan. Others decide to let Him steer their course. Life is not about the events in our path... it is about what we choose to tell ourselves and do about those moments.
Even if the course you were on seems to be shattered into a million pieces... He can take those crumbles and build you a new road. There will be moments when it seems like your road has come to a dead end... just keep going.... most likely you will find a fork. That is where the crucial moment of His will stands waiting for you. For this fork is more than just a curve in your path... it the moment where you STAND... unsure which way to chose. One road in the fork leads you to Eternal life... and to Christ. The other leads you to endless misery and the darkness of the world.
It is those low times in our lives that we get to decided if it is him that we put our faith... or if we will forget him and seek a road that comes with, what seems, more ease. A road that we have to map alone can, at times, feel simple and exactly where WE want to be. In our will we don't have to worry about anyone but ourselves; we can choose what feels good in a moment. We can justify that it is our life... and we need to live it up. I can promise you this.... Eventually the road of selfishness and self loathing solitude will be one that is lonely and depressing. It may take years for the pains to come, but they will come.
Eternal happiness is never built by one man.
It is easy to be bitter... trust me, it has come naturally for me. It is easy to be angry.... it is a secondhand emotion that covers up much of the world's pain. It is easy to wallow when life gets hard. It is easy to just keep falling.... but that is not the path that leads us home to Him; it is not the road that brings healing to our pain and faith to our doubts.
The good news is.... even if you have traveled down all the wrong roads; even if all the forks have lead you to more pain... your journey is NOT over. I have felt blessed that in all the times that I let pain eat me alive... or bitterness cause me to hate.... I have found a way to a brighter hour, and I have fought for peace from the darkness that tried to pull me back to it's Boulevards. It has not been easy or natural, but it has been possible.. and worth it. I promise that if you fight the darkness every minute of every day, you can win when He is on your side. Don't spend your days trying to stand alone.
Where there is a Will... there is a WAY. That way is not the promise if you do it on your own.... if you put your will above His. Pray for the answers to be able to follow the Will that Christ has mapped out for you. Don't let the way of the world map the roads that you drive; seek for the course that only he can steer.
We do not have to drive alone... he is the map maker of our lives. He will navigate you home.