A Moment of Truth
This picture was taken about 5 months ago, on Spring Break, when Tamara and I went to Arizona to visit family. On a Sunday, we went to a Young family get-together at Uncle Jim and Aunt Joan's home in Anthem, and had a wonderful time. Tamara got to meet all kinds of relatives, and I got to see them for the first time in a long time (the most recent ones were Aunt Juli, who came out to our wedding, and cousin Amy who came out for Emily's wedding). In the picture, besides Tamara and I, are Aunt Juli, cousin Jeremy, and cousin Jami with her husband Kameron and son Kason.
Kameron passed away this week after fighting lupus for more than a year. Most recently, he had been in the hospital with a host of complications and problems- he fought strong, lasting several weeks, but in the end passed into eternity, where he now watches over his beloved wife and son.
This morning I read Jami's words about the last two days and felt a number of things inside.
I felt sorrow and pain for Jami and Kason, for everything they have had to go through and everything they lost.
I felt awe as I read about Jami's personal strength that has carried and will carry her through this greatest of personal trials. Her strength transcends the emotional and spiritual fortitude of many people I've met.
And I felt inadequate.
I realized I am nowhere near the place I need to be in case something like that happens to me. I've never been close to death, either personally or regarding those near me. Kameron's passing is the closest I've felt to someone dying since my grandfathers passed away years ago.
Let me elaborate a bit. Several people I knew from school have died in various circumstances, mostly car accidents. But we were never more than coincidental classmates, and as such the news didn't shake me, rarely occupying more than a few somber and reflective minutes.
My maternal grandmother passed away while I was on my mission- I knew her very well, but something about being on the literal other side of the world buffered me from feeling the same emotions and loss of connection my sisters felt as they attended and sang at her funeral.
Our neighbors and friends lost their child earlier this year- he was only 10 months old- and I did what I could to grieve with them, but again, there was a lack of closeness and bonding that kept me from feeling what I felt as I read about Kameron.
Even with my grandfathers, I think I was too young to really understand what it meant to grieve. With my Grandpa Lambson, I remember crying a lot, but that was really only because I saw my dad crying as he spoke of his father. And with Grandpa Young, I remember being with my family in his hospital room as he said what would be his goodbyes. I don't remember if I cried or not.
In this "insulated from death" state I have been blessed. I've never had to be strong like Jami or Andrew or Sara or my parents. I feel like I've been able to be strong for Tamara when she needs me, but my efforts utterly pale in comaparison to those I just mentioned, and to others.
And so my moment of truth is beginning to dawn on me: what am I doing for me? What am I doing to shore up my faith, my emotions, my life against trials as great as these? I am realizing just how weak I am, how pathetic my "profession of religion" is, how inadequate my efforts to show my devotion and faith have been.
I try the "basics" from time to time, because a small part of me tells me, "That's the answer," or at least part of the answer. I read, I pray, I etc. etc. etc., but it never feels sincere. I feel like I'm just doing it as part of a hollow routine, part of a checklist, something that I'm "supposed to do." And while realizing those thoughts originate from me and not from the "basics," that the flaw lies in me and not the scriptures or prayer or church service, I somehow fail to move myself beyond that plane of thought.
What do I do? How do I begin to love these simple things as so many others do? I know a time in my life where I loved every free moment to pore through the scriptures and words of doctrine, hungry to find more and more. And I know there have been times where prayer came more naturally and the words flowed more freely as I spoke to the heavens. How do I get back there? And how do I get back there without it seeming like a chore? Is there anything that can be done about that?
My faith, I feel, is strong enough that, should tragedy beset me, I would make it through. I don't worry that I will utterly fall into hopeless despair, that the things I feel and know to be true are sufficient to keep my head above water. But I need to be more.
I need to be more for me. I need to be more for Father and His Son. And I need to be more for Tamara. She'll tell me I'm doing fine, and that she loves me, and she means every word and I love her for that. But it is for that love, for that reason, that I need to be giving it everything I can.
Why is that so hard? Why does it seem easy for so many others, and for me it's a constant struggle that I more often than not lose?
It wasn't always that way. And I don't want it to be that way anymore.
I want the strength that Jami has shown and continues to show. I want the strength Kameron showed at the end, confident that the Lord would take care of him and his family as He has always done.