Monday, July 13, 2015

The year the locusts ate

     On New Years eve, a few years back, I turned down all the invites for parties and Veags trips so that I could go to the shores of the Great Salt Lake. Or at least, where I thought the shore would be. I forgot that in the winter the water recedes, so those beaches are just frozen salt. I had a vision of floating a candle on the water out into that darkness. A solitary send-off to 2012. I packed my favorite mix, tin-foil to make a raft, a small votive, matches, and drove west.

     I just wanted to see how it would look. A prayer to start the new year.

Image by Charles Uibel

     It was too snowy and I remember the sky was orange from the Magna factory lights reflecting off the the clouds. I had to drive slow and worried I would get in trouble parking on the frontage road. Worried that someone would stop me. They might think I was losing it or that I was drunk or that I was high and lost my way from the EDM party underway at Saltair. And if they stopped me, what would I say? My reason for being there wasn't any more rational.  I stumbled through tall grasses and snow, and eventually realized there was no way to reach water before the midnight deadline. I stopped and crouched over the nearest friendly snowbank and burrowed out a spot for my candle. Pulled off my gloves and went through 5 matches trying to light it. When the wick finally caught, that little flickering flame seemed like the smallest sweetest thing. So fragile compared to the dark ahead of it.

     As I stood there, I felt it. Full of weight like a wave. I knew that something was going to happen in the upcoming year. It would be heavy and and difficult and I would be powerless against it.

     I don't know how many of you have felt like you had spiritual promptings, but usually they came to me like a feeling of peace, relief, and assurance. This was like that prompting, but the only comfort in it was knowing that I was so small in comparison, the only thing to do was to go through. It would not be a brave choice, it would be the only choice.

From February
    6 months later, my dad suddenly passed away.

    Last month on Father's Day was the two year anniversary of his death. I relive certain moments in my head from that time: Seeing my uncle walk into my room on the phone with me mom to tell me what happened. Watching The Bling Ring with Katie and Melinda the night of his memorial. Staring at the computer screen at work, doing absolutely nothing. I remember a lot of things. But so much of that time was lost. I couldn't do anything.

     A friend from one of my singles wards in Provo shared this scripture from Joel and her thoughts on her blog:

25 And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you. 
26 And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and my people shall never be ashamed.                                                                                     Joel 2:25-26

     I feel as though those moments are being restored to me. That heavy weight is slowly lifting. But the past still colors everything I do. It informs every decision that I make. I don't need to distance myself from that grief in order to believe that "there are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind".

     Last December, my family went to see a children's production of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe to celebrate my dad's birthday. When the play reached the part of the death of Aslan, the lights went out, and the narrator read straight from the book:

         "I hope no one who reads this book has been quite as miserable as Susan and Lucy were that night; but if you have been - if you're been up all night and cried till you have no more tears left in you - you will know that there comes in the end a sort of quietness. You feel as if nothing was ever going to happen again...  
          Hours and hours seemed to go by in this dead calm, and they hardly noticed that they were getting colder and colder... The country all looked dark grey, but beyond, at the very end of the world, the sea showed pale. The sky began to turn red. They walked to and fro more times than they could count. Then at last, as they stood for a moment looking out towards the sea... the red turned to gold along the line where the sea and the sky met and very slowly up came the edge of the sun."

From our trip to Antelope Island

     Those hours.
     Those years.
     They're coming back.
     I can see it.

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