This is a fairly lengthy post. Hence the "blah blah blah" in my blog title. I apologize for the length, but I appreciate the time taken to read what I have to say. I want to share this with my five blog followers, and I have been meaning to share this before it is too late to remember everything.There is a lot that has happened in the last two weeks. Many good things, and a good share of not-so-good things, too.
A few weeks ago, I went out to Utah to visit a girl I have known forever. Our dads met in the Missionary Training Center, went on the same mission, and then were in the same military bases for a number of years. Our families have parallel lives, as do this girl and I. Originally, I was going to be a bridesmaid in her wedding while I was there. However, complications came up and the wedding has been postponed. I already had plane tickets though and we couldn't change them, so I flew out there to spend some time with her and her family. The week was fun! It was exactly how summer should be spent. Lots of time outside, playing games, jumping on the trampoline, roasting marshmallows and starbursts in a bonfire, watch a movie outside, sleep under the stars, go swimming, hiking, boating, etc. Lots of fun.
However, my final morning there, things turned completely upside down. I won't go into details since this is the internet, but I was hurt far worse than I think I have ever been hurt in my life. Never have I had somebody shout so many ugly things in my face at such a loud volume, in such a purposefully hurtful manner, and by somebody I considered to be one of my closest friends in the world. It was entirely unexpected, extremely inappropriate, hurtful, scary, and damaging. I regret some of the things I said back to her, and I feel awful that it all happened, but what hurts the most is that, by what I have heard from her father... she doesn't regret anything. She feels she was in the right. Telling me I am the most annoying and selfish person needed to happen, and I deserved it. I needed to be told I drive everyone crazy and nobody there likes me because I am so selfish and annoying. And I suck at being a friend.
I had to spend the rest of the day alone in airports and in airplanes, but I owe many thanks to my mom and Nick, both of whom talked to me and comforted for close to an hour each as I waited in the airport, having arrived 3 hours earlier than expected due to the argument. Thanks to their open ears and hearts, and to the scriptures I had in my carry on bag and the Lord's guidance, I have been able to stand back and look at this from the big picture point of view, and know that the things said to me are not true, I did nothing to deserve this, and I should not blame myself. The words do sting still, and I don't know how long they will sting for, and I am finding this whole experience to be a true test of my willingness to forgive. Of course I want to forgive all of this, but the matter of putting the hurt and resentment aside is proving to be a struggle for me.
The events that happened in the week following that awful day have proved to be a test of my spiritual and emotional strength.
The day after I came home, I had a very enjoyable day with Nick. We got up early and drove to Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, and spent the day at Noah's Ark Waterpark: America's Largest Waterpark. It was a blast! Spending time together, riding water coasters and slides, spending the day in the sun (which does something to boost your mood and lessen depression or something). It was a great recovery after having had such a hard day. :)
That evening though, I got home and read in our local paper that the principal to the elementary school that my 9 year old brother attends had been arrested that morning (the day after school finished for the year). He has been charged with a federal account of having viewed child pornography, and the man also admitted to the authorities that he had placed a hidden camera in the boys bathroom at school. They mentioned an age group he focuses on, and my brother falls right in the smack dab center of that age group.
We explained this to my brother, and he doesn't quite get it we don't think. If he does, then he is not upset. We think he just doesn't quite understand it. Other boys in the neighborhood do though. They are upset. Nobody knows if their child was watched, if still shots were taken of their child, pictures taken and sent to other people...nobody knows. And I don't know if I want to know. All I know is I want this man locked up, and I pray he gets help. Because he needs it. It is so sad to see the things that Satan can do to people. The lives he can destroy, the people he can hurt, the resentment and contention he can stir up. I am so grateful to know the things I know. But I do pity this man for the choices he has made.
Following that load of news, we learned of my grandfather's illness. He became ill and was sent to the hospital. He ended up in the ICU with pneumonia. It eventually spread to his heart, and Thursday June 9th, 2011 in the afternoon, he died. Being so far away in Iowa, I was unable to be there when he died, or at the funeral. I hear the funeral was lovely though. For the last few years, my family and I have always half expected that every time we saw our grandparents would be the last time we would see them while here on earth. None of us in Iowa feel as though we left things unsaid, have any regrets, or really feel any true true loss. I will miss his heart warming smile, his "well hello there!" greetings every time we see him, his countless stories and advise and wisdom, but I do not feel I have lost anything. I (and my immediate family) feel at peace. We know without a doubt that this time on earth really is only but a short time and that before we know it, we will be reunited. He will be one of the very first smiling faces I see when I pass through the veil. I have no doubt about it. I look forward to it, actually. What a joyful reunion that will be!! I feel like I have faced a lot of death in the last 6 months, with my good friend Scott suddenly dying of cancer, my kitty who I loved dearly dying of cancer as well, and now my grandpa Priest (only three deaths, but it's more than I've faced my whole life!), but it has strengthened my testimony. I know Grandpa Priest worked hard on earth doing genealogy work, temple work, missionary service and so so so much more. Now, I know that he is working even harder and even more than he could on earth in his sick body. His spirit lives on, and is greeting those who have passed who he helped in his time on earth through temple work. He works with those who are lost and confused. He is a beacon of light to those spirits, and his memory and impressions left on earth will shine on forever as well as we, his children and grandchildren (and our children as we raise them in the gospel) live up to our Grandpa's example.
On top of it all, on Thursday morning, Nick left. I have mentioned him a few times here - Nick is my boyfriend (goodness I don't like that term, I feel like it is such an overly used term, used primarily by high school girls desperate for attention and affection), and I am very happy to know him and to have a friend like him. :) I am very blessed and very happy. I was sad to say goodbye the night before, but I know he will be back in just 10 more short weeks. Still, I miss him, but only temporarily. I look forward to spending a few more months with him and seeing where life takes us.
So, this past week my parents left to go to the funeral, which means I have been home alone while Oliver stays with Molly, and Sally and Grace are off at girls camp. Of course whenever parents are gone, bad and unavoidable things happen that are beyond our control. Two things have happened so far. First, Hoover (our labrador) got very sick...everywhere. And late at night, too, so I had to stay up cleaning. Then, there was an incident at the local grocery store. Long story short, I made two girls (african american... they unfortunately fit the stereotypical attitude of most sassy black girls) very very mad by taking a parking spot they wanted. They wouldn't leave from behind my car and were shouting and swearing at me with their windows rolled down. I couldn't hear everything, but by what little I could hear, I am a ****ing white *****, and they are going to beat my *** when they find me in the store. Going to hunt me down and beat me up. Statements like this were said multiple times. I fortunately had Hoover (the 90 lb pure muscle black labardor mentioned earlier) in the car with me, so I rolled down his window and let him stick his head outside, hoping they would back off. They didn't. Once the car next to me pulled out, they pulled into it, and I go out of the car and ran to the building. They were still shouting at me, and I couldn't resist, I responded "What on earth!!!! It's a parking spot! A piece of asphalt!! Get over it!!" People in the parking lot saw everything that was going on. One lady came with me inside and told me she wouldn't let them get to me and told me I should find a manager asap. I did, and I told him what was happening, and that I did not feel safe. At that moment, the two girl walked in the store. They spotted me, put their hands on their hips, pointed at me, eyes narrowed, and started to make their way towards me. The assistant manager told me he would tell them to leave. They didn't... they walked toward me, so I made my way towards aisles and got myself lost in them, hoping they wouldn't be able to see me. I ran into the lady who talked with me in the parking lot and she told me this is crazy and she's sorry it had to happen to me. I found my groceries, checked out, and left. Got to my car, no key scratches, dents, broken windows or anything like that. I got out of there. What an awful experience!
HOWEVER.... on the bright side, I have learned a lot in the last few weeks!!! About life, love, friendship, family, the gospel, and myself. These two weeks certainly have been a bit of a super-boost to my learning and life experience.... and while they're not always fun, I wouldn't trade these opportunities to learn for anything.