The Watchman

The Watchman

Monday, April 21, 2014

#Because of Him

For Easter, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints put together a social media campaign with the hashtag BecauseofHim.  The focal point was a video depicting the mission of our Savior Jesus Christ.

No matter how many times I watched this, it brought tears to my eyes and I felt the truth of the message in my heart.

As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we were asked to share this video through social media outlets with our friends and to share our testimony of the Savior and of His Atonement as part of our Easter celebration.

I thought of the lonely path that Jesus had to walk as He completed His earthly mission.  There was no other that could complete the task set before Him by our Heavenly Father.  Even as He suffered agony beyond anything that we as mortals can imagine, Christ did not turn away because He loves you and He loves me.

Because of His sacrifice, I will never be alone.  Because of His sacrifice I will be resurrected.  Because of the unconditional love He had for me, even though I am not perfect, I can repent of my sins and be forgiven.  Because of Him the path has been marked and the way shown for me to become a better person.  Because of Him, I will be able to be with those I love for eternity.  Because of Him, death is not the end, but only a transition - a stepping stone on the path of eternal progression.

All these things I know to be true.  When I think of eternity, I think of being with my family.  As I have done my genealogy, I look forward to meeting my ancestors and rejoicing with them as we are united and share in the joy of that reunion.  Today, I gained a new perspective.

When I was a young girl, probably about 10 years old, my parents hosted a couple of men who were coaches of a basketball team from Australia.  The team had traveled to the United States to compete with various high schools and Ogden High had been one of those selected.  All I really remember is that my parents were asked to house the coaches of the team during its stay in Ogden.

I can remember thinking how tall these men were and how much I loved listening to them speak.  When they left, they gave my parents a photo calendar of Australia with their home addresses inside.  For almost ten years, that calendar sat in my parents' bookcase until I went to Ricks College.  While there, I had two family home evening brothers who were called to serve LDS missions in Melbourne Australia.  My mom suggested that I give them the addresses of these two men and see if they could find them.  What resulted was a 25+ year correspondence between myself and the wife of one of these men.

While we never met, we would through annual and semi-annual correspondence share goals, struggles, joys and faith.  Jenny would often write of their desire to come to the States to visit and how Dale fondly spoke of his time there with the basketball team.  He remembered me as that shy little girl. Unfortunately, Dale had MS and the progression of the disease took a toll not only on his health, but on their finances as well.  So instead we exchanged cards, words and pictures and talked of time when we may be able to meet.

I had harbored hope that one of my children would serve an LDS mission in their area and be able to knock on their door.  I imagined the look of surprise and joy when Jenny opened the door and saw this boy she had watched grow up through pictures standing on her doorstep.  How awesome that scene would have been.  But unfortunately it was not to be as each of my boys was called to serve somewhere else.

This year as always, I sent off my Christmas card and letter, but I never received one in return.  I began to wonder what had happened.  I knew Dale had been sick.  I knew the couple had been struggling.  As the time went by and I did not hear anything, but my package did not come back, I thought to look for them on social media.  An internet search returned the following simple words:

SHEEHAN (nee Shaw), Jenny Beatrice. Passed away suddenly at home. Loved wife of Dale, eldest daughter of the late Reuben and Myrtle Shaw, dear sister of Ann, Gwen, Robin (dec), Sally, Trixie, Jim and Ian. Your long struggle is over. Rest now.  Friends welcome to graveside service, Thursday October 3, 2013.

How final these words were to all the earthly dreams that I had of meeting this wonderful woman who has been a part of my life for so long.  But then I thought of the last week and the message that had been so strong:

Jesus is the Son of God, our Savior and Redeemer. Because of Him, death is not the end, and life takes on new meaning. We can change, we can start over—and we can live again with God. This Easter, celebrate His life and discover all that’s possible because of Him.

Because of Him, death is not the end.  It is a transition.  Jenny has stepped from this mortal existence to a place of peace to wait for the resurrection.  Now I will look forward to the day when we will see each other there.  How great will be our joy Because of Him.

To read more, click here #BecauseofHim .