Thursday, April 21, 2011

{sad days, bright future}

Isn't it interesting that the Lord always knows what we need?

The past week hasn't been what I planned for myself but I've learned and grown so much.  That's actually better than anything I could have done on my own.

I really thought I had THE perfect day planned last Tuesday.  Nothing followed the schedule!  I had literally prayed that I would use my time wisely and the Lord answered my prayers . . . in a very different way.

A friend stopped by and she was having one of THOSE days.  It was the kind of day that surpassed a bad day.  It was a personal nightmare she was dealing with.  She said she had prayed for help and felt that coming here was her answer.  I'm so thankful to know the Lord knows me AND my sweet friend.  So, as would be expected, the next few days followed suit and my ideas faded.  Once again, I'm so thankful I was so blessed.

Still, the saddest part of my week hadn't arrived.

Our nephew, Chad, has been fighting a battle with bi-polar disorder for several years.
On Saturday, April 16, he lost that battle.
My heart is still breaking and I'm still so sad.

Chad had a huge heart!  He also provided lots of laughs throughout his ups and downs.  He worked for the Tyler County Sheriff's Department and had so many friends.  

Not long before Nolan left on his mission, we were visiting in Fred.  Chad was attending the police academy at the time and had some handcuffs.  What could be cooler than that??  Nolan has some crazy ability to move his shoulders in directions that, quite honestly, make some people feel ill.  He let Chad handcuff his hands behind his back and then Nolan rotated his shoulders and got his hands over his head with his arms ending in front of his body.  This action only took a few seconds and everyone was amazed.  Nolan then mentioned his ability to pick the lock on the handcuffs.  Chad let us know that picking the lock was "impossible" - they told him so at the police academy.  Nolan, still handcuffed, reached for his wallet in his back pocket, pulled out a hairpin and quickly picked the lock.  Chad loved it!  He then learned how to pick the lock himself and began counting down the hours until he would be back at the academy and could show everyone his new skills!  It was fun to watch them together that night.  

Chad was lots of fun for his nephews and nieces.  He was also always good for a few good pranks.  I know Sweet Laura received more than her fair share of them.

The past few days have been full of tears but also full of wonderful moments with the family.  My brother-in-law and sister-in-law have been incredible throughout this tragic experience.  I'm so thankful for their examples.  I feel so much closer to them and appreciate their strength as they comforted others.  I also want to express my gratitude to everyone who has offered comfort, prayers, help with the funeral, and so many other thoughtful things.

This isn't the end.  I'm even more thankful this Easter for my Savior, Jesus Christ.  He lives and because He lives we will all live again.  I will see Chad again.  I'm glad his suffering in this life has ended.  I'm thankful for peace.  I'm thankful that our loving Father in Heaven has a plan.  His judgements and His love are perfect!  My heart aches for the suffering Chad endured and if someone as imperfect as myself feels compassion for such a wonderful nephew then I know how much more the Savior feels for him.  It is impossible for me to care more about Chad than He does.  He loves each of us perfectly.  This Easter, I feel even more gratitude for the Resurrection and the perfect plan of happiness.  I love Chad.  I love my family.  And, I especially love my Savior for blessing me with everything.

Not all is sad though.  There is still a bright future!
(In fact, it will begin again tomorrow with a special breakfast for one of our favorite missionaries.)