Hard as We Pray, Sometimes Heaven has Another Way

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In June of 2011 we received the unwelcome news that my wife Gaylynn had 8 tumors spread throughout her brain. Because of the diverse locations and number of tumors, it was not possible to surgically remove all of them. This was the beginning of a 20 month journey attempting to battle the tumors and the impact they were having on Gaylynn and our family.Unfortunately, we were unable to win the battle and Gaylynn passed away in February of 2013.There’s times hard as we pray, heaven has another way, and even though there’s nothing faith can’t do, sometimes that mountain doesn’t move.

Since Gaylynn was diagnosed, I have taken one day at a time in an attempt to make it the best day I could. Some days have been better than others, but I have always embarked each day with an attempt to make it the best I can. I have learned that none of us know the number of days we have appointed to us in this life.

A local country musician, Charley Jenkins, sings a song called That Mountain. I first heard him sing this song at a concert a few months after Gaylynn passed away. Outdoor summer concerts were one of our favorite things to do, and I found continuing to go after she passed away was both difficult and cathartic. The chorus states: There’s times hard as we pray, heaven has another way, and even though there’s nothing faith can’t do, sometimes that mountain doesn’t move.

In the last occurrence of the chorus he sings:

Sometimes all we see is our slice of reality and things are not as simple as they seem to be. It’s hard when we pray and heaven has another way and even though there is nothing faith can’t do He knows what’s best for me and you and that mountain doesn’t move.

To be completely honest, I still struggle with the concept that Gaylynn passing away is what is best for me. I haven’t reached a personal resolution of this yet… I do believe I will be a better person for going through this, but I still think I would have turned out just fine with Gaylynn still here.

I listened to talk by David A Bednar in which he related an experience of visiting someone at the hospital and asking the following question:

“Do you have the faith not to be healed? If it is the will of our Heavenly Father that you are transferred by death in your youth, do you have the faith to submit to His will and not be healed?”

I ask myself, do I have the faith to continue on the path to return to my Heavenly Father even though Gaylynn was not healed? Do I have the persistence to carry on doing what together we believed is important, even though she is not here with me?

As children of God, knowing of His great love and His ultimate knowledge of what is best for our eternal welfare, we trust in Him. The first principle of the gospel is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and faith means trust. – Dallin H Oaks

Experience is the greatest teacher.

When I was younger I had more certain answers and opinions. I knew what the answers to other people’s problems were with certainty. As I gain more life experiences, I find I have less certain answers. Experience has tempered the absolutes of my youth. I spend more time pondering other’s circumstances and what would lead them to the decisions they make and the opinions that they have. I often think the lessons we are to learn are more about compassion and love and less about judgement and condemnation.

Suffering, grief and challenges can help us be more understanding.

We are all given trials and difficulties in life. It is not our job to judge the difficulty of the trials another person is given. Is my path more difficult than someone who is divorced, lost a parent at an early age, or lost a child? It does not matter. We are taught that God will not suffer us with trials greater than we are able to bear. It is our responsibility to do the best we can with the path we have been given and to do our best to help others on the path that they are walking. It is not a competition to determine whose path is harder.

“Faith is not that everything will be OK now, but that all will be OK and made right in the end.” This is a powerful principle. We do not know why we are asked to go through what we are, but faith is continuing to do our best knowing that we will be rewarded with all that is rightfully ours at the appropriate time.My wife taught me a great lesson about faith. As we struggled with the our second pregnancy loss in 9 months, we wondered what faith was. We would often hear people be thankful for the blessings they had received from Heavenly Father in relation to a new baby being born. We wondered why we were experiencing difficult times. We wondered if we were not being valiant enough. Why would others be receiving the blessing of healthy babies while we were not. In the midst of these struggles and wondering, Gaylynn’s struggle for an answer yielded this: “Faith is not that everything will be OK now, but that all will be OK and made right in the end.” This is a powerful principle. We do not know why we are asked to go through what we are, but faith is continuing to do our best knowing that we will be rewarded with all that is rightfully ours at the appropriate time.

More than anything my faith and hope have helped me to go on. I believe I will be rewarded for this time of separation. This belief does not take away the difficulty of each day, but it gives me hope and a desire to make the best of each day I have. My life will never be the same, but that does not mean it can’t still be great. We are each given our own path to walk and the tools to make the best of it. I believe that I can make a difference, no matter what happens in this life.

One of my favorite country music artists, Gary Allan, sings Life Ain’t Always Beautiful.

Life ain’t always beautiful Sometimes it’s just plain hard
Life can knock you down
It can break your heart
But the struggles make me stronger
And the changes make me wise
And happiness has its own way of takin’ its sweet time
No, life ain’t always beautiful
But I know, I’ll be fine

Hey, life ain’t always beautiful, but it’s a beautiful ride

What a beautiful ride

Yes it is a beautiful ride. We fought hard for the opportunity to be here on the earth. It is an absolutely necessary part of our progression. I believe we will be reunited with our loved ones and I am excited for that day, but also realize that time in this mortal existence is precious, and I seek to make the most of it. I view time from the perspective of the parable of the talents and hope to be found in the company of those who increased their talents and not those who squandered them. We don’t know how much time we have, only that we have right now to make the best choices to help us return to be with those we love and Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. As Gaylynn helped me realize, we will be made whole in the end. Even though I do not understand all of the reasons why this must be, I can still have faith in that.

 

 Ron Mortensen was married for over 18 years and lost his wife in February 2013 after battling several brain tumors for over a year and a half.  He is a software developer and father of 4 children. He believes experience is the greatest teacher. “Experience has tempered the absolutes of my youth. I spend more time pondering other’s circumstances and what would lead them to the decisions they make and the opinions they have.” The lessons he feels that he has learned through this trial are compassion and love for others. He believes that “Suffering, grief and challenges can help us be more understanding.”

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