Friday, September 16, 2011

Boarding School Graduation

Mother called yesterday morning to tell me that my younger sister had passed away at age 42.  To me it was joyous news.  Emily was born with Spina Bifada and had suffered health problems her whole life.  My parents formally adopted her when she was three after having her as a foster child since she was two months old.

I don't remember who said it at General Conference, and I won't take time now to look it up, but someone called this life a boarding school, and that image has stayed with ever since.  We are sent here by loving Heavenly Parents to boarding school for the second phase of our education.  We have classes, tests, reports, and experiences that we couldn't have in any other way.  We are a long way from home and we get homesick and lonely, but we can call home as often as we want (prayer) and we can read letters of counsel at anytime (scriptures).  Twice a year we have assemblies to hear the latest information and encouragement from our Parents (General Conference) and several more times each year we meet with local counselors for instructions and encouragement (ward and stake conferences).

Each student has both similar and different courses of study.  We learn and develop skills and talents that are uniquely our own.  The length of our schooling is uncertain at this end, but is known by the Lord (D&C 61:6 ". . .all flesh is in mine hand,").  So when my mother told me that Em had died, I was momentarily envious; she graduated from boarding school and was called HOME.  She is with Nana Hansen, and her beloved Uncle Connie, and Grandma Fern and Grandpa Joe.  She was faithful to the end and is now with her Savior!  How can we be sad?  She is free from pain and suffering; she can walk and run and dance on legs that work!

I know my parents will miss her terribly; she lived with them and they cared for her every need.  But, knowing what we know of the Plan of Happiness and the Atonement of our Savior, how can we be sad that she graduated, probably with honors, from this school we call mortality.

I know that my Redeemer lives, what comfort this sweet sentence gives!
He lives, he lives who once was dead; He lives my everliving Head.
He lives to bless me with his love. He lives to plead for me above.
He lives my hungry soul to feed. He lives to bless in time of need.

He lives to grand me rich supply. He lives to guide me with his eye.
He lives to comfort me when faint. He lives to hear my soul's complaint.
He lives to silence all my fears. He lives to wipe away my tears.
He lives to calm my troubled heart. He lives all blessings to impart.

He lives my kind, wise heav'nly friend. He lives and loves me to the end.
He lives, and while he lives, I'll sing. He lives my Prophet, Priest and King.
He lives and grants me daily breath. He lives, and I shall conquer death.
He lives my mansion to prepare. He lives to bring me safely there.

He lives! All glory to his name! He lives, my Savior, still the same.
Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives: "I know that my Redeemer lives!"
He lives! All glory to his name! He lives, my Savior, still the same.
Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives: "I know that my Redeemer lives!"

Samuel Medley, 1738-1799

Congratulations, Emily, on your successful completion of a difficult course.  May you have peace now and happiness with our loved ones who have gone before.

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