Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Each Life That Touches Ours For Good

My family moved to Utah from California the summer I turned 12 (over 22 years ago!) and went into 7th grade (Jr High). I had several good friends in my new church ward. I still remember the first day of school, when roll was being called in one of my classes. Laura Rife (a new friend in my ward) got my attention and waved at me. We became BFFs quickly. I have such wonderful memories of my years in the Heatheridge neighborhood. Laura and I were together a lot...walking to each other's houses through the Watson's yard (now my brother's in-laws...but that's a different story). We made cookies together, jumped on her tramp, had sleepovers (staying up late playing Skip-Bo and talking about boys), watched our favorite moveis (Newsies and Father of the Bride come to mind), went on walks, made phone calls to boys, went to dances together, played volleyball and basketball on the Ward Young Women team, went to the mall, and so many other things BFFs enjoy together. Our family's were neat because the children were the same ages and gender all the way down, starting with Laura and I as the oldest (including the fourth children both being named Todd by coincidence).

Our mothers also became very close friends. They had a few other women that they walked with every morning for years and mom moved away for a bit, then her mom, but once all were back, they walked again until about a year ago. Our parents lives seemed to parallel each other, from callings, to missions. I have always loved Laura's family, especially her parents (Rich and Janet). Rich was always kind and funny and generous. Janet was also kind and ran an immaculate, well-organized and loving home. I remember she always had her nails painted perfectly, hair in place and makeup on. She was always put together from head to toe, including accessories. She was one of those women who did it all...nothing seemed to suffer...there was a clean house, dinner, and she looked good! Not to mention, she always magnified callings in the church and. And, I know she had her personal "sacred grove" scripture study and journal time every day.
Today I attended Janet's funeral. She would have been 55 the end of December. I haven't been able to get her or her wonderful family out of my thoughts and prayers for days. Janet was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) in July 2011. Her body was taken over by this awful disease. But, her spirit, attitude and determination was not. I think of myself as being bitter and angry in her position. She could be described as the opposite.

She raised beautiful children who were perfection last night and today in their remarks. Her husband spoke as well. I was so impressed with his message and the way he delivered it. There is nothing more touching to me than hearing the love and adoration someone has for their spouse. He has truly idolized her from the day her first saw her. How lucky we are to have a knowledge of the gospel of Christ as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Sanits. We know that we can be sealed to our families for time AND eternity in the temple. And, we will be resurrected and see our loved ones who have passed again.
As we left the funeral, my sister and I were saying how we have desires to be better people. Janet has that influence on others. I am grateful to have known her and her family. Love, prayers and comfort will continue to go out the the Rife family. The closing song has been in my mind throughout the day. It is a wonderful description of  Janet...
1. Each life that touches ours for good
Reflects thine own great mercy, Lord;
Thou sendest blessings from above
Thru words and deeds of those who love.

2. What greater gift dost thou bestow,
What greater goodness can we know
Than Christlike friends, whose gentle ways
Strengthen our faith, enrich our days.

3. When such a friend from us departs,
We hold forever in our hearts
A sweet and hallowed memory,
Bringing us nearer, Lord, to thee.

4. For worthy friends whose lives proclaim
Devotion to the Savior’s name,
Who bless our days with peace and love,
We praise thy goodness, Lord, above.