This past weekend we had the opportunity to visit James' grave. It took awhile to find a good rhythm for our visits and for a long time I fretted over what to actually do when visiting. We have settled on bringing flowers (there were some beautiful wildflowers in a field nearby that we decided to pick), eating peanut M&Ms (something sweet), and we end with a prayer. We never stay for very long, but it always feels good to visit, to acknowledge the body that rests there even though we know his spirit doesn't.
During our visit, Daniel had to nurse and so I sat nursing in the sunshine and I was hit hard with overwhelming peace. Kyle and Max were a little ways away, looking down at the river below, and I felt all the warmth of the sun, of the love of my family, of the impact James has had on our lives.
I felt happy. This happiness felt so solid and deep and true that it startled me a bit.
When we started this journey, I felt like I was faced with two choice to grieve. I could choose to blame God or utilize Him. He promises in John 14:27 (the scripture we have on James' gravestone) that His peace in not like that of the world's. What he has to offer allows us to not be afraid or troubled. Through his Atonement, we are made better, stronger. He offers light and healing and comfort.
I had heard these promises over and over again and had applied them when necessary, but the immense need for them had never been felt as crucially. So I chose to believe. This was a choice I had to make every day and some days were easier to chose than others. On some days, darkness and bitterness crept in. Others, I could feel His love transforming my heart and spirit.
All of those moments when I chose light over darkness, hope over despair, joy over grief were small, minuscule moments. It was deciding to read my scriptures, to pray, to go for a walk, to dance, to fill my mind and heart and soul with that which is uplifting and good. It was choosing to find the lesson or principle, to sift for the nugget of wisdom in all of my experiences that led me closer and closer to feeling light for longer and longer periods of time.
So on Saturday, when I sat nursing a healthy baby in the sunshine reading over the words of John 14:27 on the gravestone I had a realization. I realized that the Savior's promise was true and I was living proof sitting right there!
He can and does provide peace. His peace is not like anything this world can provide for His peace reaches the deepest parts of our hearts, allowing them to be healed fully and completely.
I am so grateful for that peace, for it has brought the most unshakable joy to my life.
P.S. We are walking in honor of James' impact on our lives in 10 days. Click the link below to donate and/or walk with us!