From the beginning of my relationship with Brad I have struggled with the idea of "eternal love." All the sappy little sayings about love made my heart cry out just a little in pain. I had that love and my life was great! I love Trent eternally and infinitely and there can be no other person in that spot. Right? That is what I thought. But over the last month I have decided that is wrong. I have had several experiences with friends, family, neighbors, and strangers that have taught me just a bit more about love.
A few weeks ago I was giving the lesson at my visiting teaching appointment. I had read the lesson beforehand but had not really thought about what I might add to it. I was talking about how many people gave me scripture references after Trent passed away. I looked up every single one of them, looking for any little bit of peace I could find. One of them happened to be in the lesson that day.
John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
I know that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. The part that struck me was that no man cometh unto the Father, but by Jesus. Somehow in my mind that morphed into love. Love for everyone. My job here is to love as many people as I can, as purely as I can so that they too will know what I know--that Jesus loves them. He loves all of us so much that He died for us. By purely loving our family, friends, neighbors, and even strangers we can turn their hearts to Jesus and help them return to Him and Heavenly Father. As I was talking about this scripture it dawned on me that I can love Brad eternally too. In my mind I guess I thought that because I am not sealed to Brad that I should only love him a certain amount...never to match the level that I love Trent. But Christ sees things differently. He does not have a certain amount of love for those who are faithful and have perfect marriages, lives, and kids. He does not love those who struggle to obey the commandments to a lesser degree. He does not have to try really hard to love those who outwardly and blatantly disobey His laws. He loves us all. Eternally. Infinitely. And that is how I am striving to love as well. Just because I am not sealed to Brad does not mean that I should not love him fully or that I will stop loving him when I die. He is playing such a huge part in my "test" on this earth. When I cry Brad wipes my tears, when I laugh he laughs too. I am finding that I can truly love two men at the same time. I know that Trent is happy for me to have such a great man to share the rest of my life with.
Last week I went to the temple with a good friend of mine to do some initiatory. While I was there I very distinctly felt the presence of one of the women whose name I had. I was overcome with emotion. I acknowledged her presence with the temple patron. I cannot describe the way I felt except to say that it was an overwhelming feeling of love.
I just returned from a weekend trip to St. George. It was a great trip, not only for the weather and activities, but for the tender mercy and outward display of love that our Heavenly Father has for each one of us. In the background of the picture of the headstone is Shea's headstone. Shea is a good friend that Trent and I met while he was sick. Shea passed away from colon cancer almost one year ago. During the time that both Trent and Shea were sick they formed a strong bond. We loved her dearly! We were also blessed to get to know her parents and share some very tender moments with them. Shortly after Shea passed away their family moved to St. George. When I planned my trip to St. George I wanted to visit them but I did not have any contact information to find out where they lived. While we were there we attended the Parade of Homes. As I was walking through one of the houses I caught a glimpse of a woman with her head down. I only saw a bit of her profile out of the corner of my eye but there was a flash of recognition. After I walked by her my mind put it all together. It was Jeanine, Shea's mother! I quickly turned around and beelined it straight toward her and threw my arms around her without saying a word. We both dissolved into tears. I told her I was worried I wasn't going to be able to find her but she insisted that I didn't need to be worried, Heavenly Father takes care of those details. :) We were invited to her home and got to spend some time with her and her husband. Jeanine shared with us a story that strengthened my testimony of the individual love that Heavenly Father has for each of us. For privacy sake, I will not share it but as I listened to her share her testimony of His love and answer to prayer, I was once again overcome with emotion. The feeling of complete and total love enveloped me.
So in February, the month of love, my mind and heart have been taught a great lesson about the power of love. We are not asked to come to earth to move mountains. We do not have to be the best at everything, or even anything! But we are asked to love one another. Truly, deeply, and unconditionally. I have said it before so please forgive the repetition, I KNOW that my Heavenly Father loves me. He has proven it over and over again. I know He loves Trent enough to rescue him from his pain. I know He loves each and every one of His children just as much as He loves me. I just need to learn to share that love with as many people as I can.