Cancer has given me an increased amount of time to sit and think. I have pondered the meaning of trials in our lives, from a variety of angles. Recently I spent time with my mom and two of my aunts. They reminded me of something my Grandpa used to do.
For years, while their children were young, Grandpa used to pray that his family would have "interesting lives". Grandma didn't take to this request too kindly, knowing that Heavenly Father's idea of "interesting lives" could be quite different than theirs. As their children have left home to have families of their own, and now the next generation has begun to do the same...lives have become interesting. Grandpa, who now stands with Grandma in the next life, watches as his petition is answered on the heads of his family. He is unable to defend himself as his children jokingly mock him for the trials they are blessed to endure.
Interesting lives. I wish I could talk to Grandpa and find out what his intentions were. What did he want for his children? Grandpa loved life. He loved fishing, from shallow lakes in the mountains to the depths of the ocean. He loved traveling the roads on his Honda Gold Wing or his Ford Falcon, or his RV, with Grandma right beside him. And the only thing that made it all better was experiencing it with his family. Family was his motivation for everything. And for them, he wanted "interesting lives".
Looking back over my life, it has been anything but easy. Interesting might describe it. Having lost one brother to cancer and one to a car accident, my Father to heart problems, my Grandma to cancer, and my Grandpa to Dementia related to Parkinson, while having gained a (step) Father as a teenager, not to mention the many trials my own actions landed me in, perspective is something I feel I have gained. I have learned and grown stronger as a result. On the up side, I was able to live and struggle with college room mates and missionary companions, adjust to being married just months after returning home from a mission, and having 4 children in the first 5 years of marriage. All blessings, and again all ways to struggle and grow.
And now I sit here, with what may be the trial of my life. Cancer. Where would I be now, without the "interesting life" of my past to strengthen me? And there begins my new understanding of trials. We need them. We need them so much more than we need an easy life. Our Heavenly Father's full purpose in us being here is to give us every opportunity to become like he is. He wants us to return to Him, and continue to grow and learn and have every opportunity He has. The more we gain in this life, the better off we will be in the life to come. He has promised us that he will not give us more than we can handle, but he will push us, and try us, and test us. As we turn to Jesus Christ, and rely on His strength and love for us, we can accomplish even more.
So thank-you Grandpa. Thank-you for wanting more for us. Thank-you for having the faith to ask, and the understanding to know it is for our good.