Sunday, January 18, 2009

All Things Shall Work Together

I think I have mentioned a few times how I feel strongly that lessons in my life are learned one at a time in a concentrated manner. The same pattern continues.


This past week, I have learned from the strong examples of others.

I don't know if I have ever mentioned my first mission companion, Carlene Okimoto. Approximately two years ago, I was looking over the mission website and ran across something that surprised me . I found her name listed in the "in memoriam" section of the site. She had passed away not long before. She had left her husband with seven children; the youngest a newborn only a day old.
I had learned of this man she married, back when we were companions. We walked along the streets of Aomori, Japan talking one evening, getting to know each other. She asked me if I had anyone waiting for me at home. I told her of the man whose story I, ironically, will share with you next. She told me of Vaughn--a young man back home in Hawaii, who she hoped she would marry. She followed her plan, and I was happy to receive her wedding announcement after I returned home.

Needless to say, I was extremely saddened and shocked to hear of Carlene's death, but I was more concerned about her husband and seven children. How would they survive without their mother? What would become of them?

Next story, as we walked down the street that night in Aomori, I told Carlene about a young man "back home." He was really serving a mission too. He entered the MTC the day I left it. We met up at the Salt Lake City airport as he had arrived shortly there before, and I was on my out to Seattle and then Japan. He had been a member of the church for only a year and had waited that year in order to be called to serve the Lord.

To make a long story a bit shorter, he returned home about eight months after me. I had met Z and we had just started dating. I knew, on my first date with him, that Z was the man I would marry. When this young man returned home, I remember sitting out front of my parents house with him and him asking me to make a choice. Knowing what I knew, I had to turn him down.

He went to BYU and met a young woman, whom he married. There is so much more to this story that I could and probably should share, but I will save that for another time. They neded up having four children together.

I heard very little else about him until I got a phone call from my older brother who lives in southern Utah. At the time of this phone call, my brother was working for a funeral home. He had attended a funeral for a young mother who was found dead in her home one evening. No one knew the cause of her death, but it seemed to have something to do with a new medication she was taking, from what I understood. Her husband had returned home form work that evening and found her dead--at least this is the story I was told. He was left to raise the four children--alone.

My brother reported that this young father, who spoke at his wife's funeral, looked so familiar to him. Then he realized it was this young man of whom I had spoken to Carlene.

Again, the feeling of "what will they do?" "How will they survive?"

In these past two weeks, I have been able to connect with these two men. It has been a miracle in my life. We talked about where life had taken them through these hard times and how things had turned out.

Last night, we had the adult session of our ward conference. Our stake president spoke about love. It was powerful and inspirational. There was one scripture that he shared that stuck out to me and leaves me putting more pieces into the puzzle of the lesson that the Lord is teaching me right now. That scripture is Doctrine & Covenants 90:24.

I would propose that these men did just as this scripture admoninshes. I have no doubt that they did.

At this point in time, they are both happily remarried with new little children from these new marriages. Things have turned out beautifully. The thing that made my heart the happiest was when both of them reported that they, as they look back now, can see how the hand of the Lord was there, guiding them through the hard times to the joy they now experience.

I am grateful for the examples of those who ride the waves of life clinging to their board, which is the Savior. I want to follow this example in my own life.

11 comments:

vaxhacker said...

It's amazing sometimes how things work out. My heart goes out to those families and what they suffered through, but glad to see that ultimately they were able
to go on past that and find happiness again. And I agree, it is a wonderful
thing to contemplate what the Lord is saying in D&C 90:24, but it can be
so difficult to see at the time.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing this. I really needed the adjustment in my own perspective.

The Garver Family said...

Thank you Julie for sharing this. It really couldn't have come at a better time in my life.

Grace said...

wow julie, what remarkable stories. and for you to be a part of both of their lives. thanks for sharing. it does give great perspective. thanks for your great example!

wendy said...

WOW, that is sad yet humbling. Life always surprises us --sometime in good ways and sometimes in bad. I enjoyed reading that. Just blog stalkin on Mormon Mommy Blogs and that is how I found you. take care and I am sure I will drop by again.

CNHGustad said...

What a sweet story. Thanks for sharing. Life can be so hard but rewarding if we continue to do what is right. Love ya Julie!

Tink said...

Wow Julie! What an amazing story! How sad, too, for this family to lose a loved one so young. I was a missionary too and have been saddened to hear of those who have passed on at such a young age. I also had a good girlfriend whose husband came home to find his wife dead with two young children he had to raise. You raised some sobering thoughts. Thanks for sharing.

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

Wow, what a bizarre set of "coincidences," but so reassuring how those who remain faithful usually see things come full circle ... that whole "sorrow endureth for a night, but joy cometh in the morning" thing.

Danielle said...

Thanks for sharing your experience. I also enjoyed Pres. Dalton's talk/discussion on love.

::Jan:: said...

Such an amazing story Julie. I am so moved by it. What challenges they faced. But what an ending too. Like you said, they rode the waves. I just love that. Thanks for this powerful powerful story of enduring it well. Glad you could reconnect.

Tonya said...

You have a way with connecting with people and I admire that about you. I love, love, love that you can see the hand of the Lord in your life and then you act to figure out exactly what you need to learn. I think it's really cool that you were able to reconnect with these men and hear their stories. Thanks for sharing.

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