Saturday, April 5, 2008

The power of one life.

Yesterday, I went to the funeral of a little cousin of mine. Her name was Hunter Watkins and the funeral was quite an emotional event. She had been ill for a very long time and I didn't expect to be as affected as I was by the funeral.

As I walked into the viewing, I was reminded forcefully of my own sister's funeral fourteen years ago. I was eight years old at the time. The thing that stands out in my memory of that day was how cold her fingers felt as she lay in the casket. I reached in to touch her and I had the distinct impression that the cold body I was touching was not her. The body was a thing and she was separate from it. I understood that at the time, but it was not until later that I began to comprehend the significance of it.

I looked down at Hunter's body and she looked beautiful in a white dress. Her hair was curled and placed perfectly and she looked just like a sleeping princess. I was surprised how much she reminded me of her sister Lacey. I hugged her parents and didn't know what to say to them. I sat down and gazed at the casket in wonder. In my mind, it was easy to see her sitting up and looking around, beautiful and completely whole. No more wheel chair. No more disease and suffering. I felt so strongly the power of the atonement in that moment and I thought back.

My sister was tormented as well by sickness and pain and surgeries. Her poor heart had to work so hard with two holes in it. She would begin crying anytime someone touched her feet because she knew that usually meant a shot. I think about the courage of these children who come to earth knowing they will suffer. Children like Sheridan and Hunter endure these things willingly because they know that they can help the rest of us. I know I have been changed forever by the experiences I had as a small child with my sister Sheridan.

Perhaps the hardest thing about the funeral was seeing Hunter's sisters weep as the casket was closed. I wondered if they felt what I felt as a little girl when my sister's casket was closed. Do they know that the body they placed in the earth is not the sister they cared for and loved? Hunter is separate and happy and will come back to her body again someday. I believe that.

I have cause to ponder on the purpose of one life. I think we sometimes forget the power that one life can have. And we all have this power in whatever our situation. No one was placed on this earth alone and it is significant to consider the people within my own sphere of influence. I feel inspired to reach out to others, to do better at thinking of them and finding ways to show love. Isn't life all about becoming like the Savior? And he didn't withold his love from anyone.