Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Where Angels Actually Tread

Some days when we least expect it, we are shown a small glimpse of what heaven is really like—reminding us that there is a greater plan. Today was one of those days for me.

My little brother, Cody
My little brother, Cody, would have turned 33-years-old yesterday. He passed away in a drowning accident almost 20 years ago at the age of 13.

Cody had beautiful, thick, blonde hair, brown eyes, and a smile that melted my mother's heart. He was a wonderful boy and had the makings of becoming a wonderful man. Most importantly, he loved his mom, dad, brothers, and sisters—and we loved him.  

Two weeks before Cody passed away, my parents, Cody, and my little sisters came to visit me and my two brothers in Provo, Utah where I was finishing up my senior year at BYU. While they were visiting, we all had the opportunity to attend the LDS General Conference (a semiannual conference held in Salt Lake City, Utah, where leaders of our faith speak to all the members worldwide about Jesus Christ and His ministry). Being from California, we usually had to watch "Conference" on TV, so this was a treat to be able to attend in person. The only downside was that most of the remaining seats at the conference were scattered, causing us to have to split up and take the only available seats. Cody sat a few rows ahead of me. Right as the conference was about to commence, I remember him turning his beautiful blonde head of hair and handsome face directly back in my direction and smiling at me.

This memory always replays in my head in slow motion, so that I can linger a little longer on his sweet smile. Such a blessed memory. I still miss him the same today as the day he left us even after all these years.

Until we meet again.

Today Lily had to have another hearing test for the third time in two months. She will continue to go two more times before she turns three in January. Just to be safe.

Lily's hearing is kind of hard to test because the ear-ologist (what are they called again? audiologist? I'm tired) said that Lily loses interest after hearing the sound and won't turn her head toward the sound again for lack of interest, rather than for lack of hearing. I always feel like it’s a fruitless effort every time we go, but I go because that’s what good moms are supposed to do, right?

Lily looks like she is three sheets to the wind, but she was just tired of tests!
To test Lily's hearing, she is put into a sound booth where there are toys in opposite corners of the room that are cued to make different noises like clapping their hands, barking, squeaking or having them bang tambourines together. Lily might as well have died and gone to heaven because she was convinced that EVERYTHING in the booth was there to play with her! Hearing shmearing test—let’s play! 

Even if Lily was deaf, there really is no way she’d keep the hearing aids in her ears anyway. The audiologist tried to put some in her ears to see how she’d fare and before she could put the second one in, Lily tore out the first one. After a few more attempts, Lily finally stiffened up in a prone position, put her chin down, curled her bottom lip, and cried huge crocodile tears. It was a “NO GO” as far as she was concerned, and the audiologist got the hint loud and clear! Pun intended.

If ANYTHING she may not be able to hear at a few lower decibels, but nothing I’m going to sweat over because there are other worries that take priority. Like walking and talking for starters. Maybe one day we’ll figure it out, but it wasn’t today.

The audiologist's office is located at a special needs school. The school itself is quite impressive in size and in the amount of disabled students that attend it throughout the school year.

As Lily and I were leaving the office and heading for our car, all the students were just getting out of school. Walking out toward the parking lot, I couldn't help but notice the long line of school buses—all with their ramps down anticipating the wheelchairs and these special, special, sweet children that filled their seats. 

Outside, with the aid of the teachers, the children in wheelchairs were beginning to be put in a single file line so that they could begin the process of loading the children onto their buses. As I walked past each child, I looked into each of their faces, trying to really SEE them—all with their different needs—some more severe than others. At that moment, I felt an immediate impression that I was walking in the midst of very noble spirits sent to this earth in imperfect, mortal bodies.

Looking at them, I was reminded of one of my favorite scriptures in the Bible. It reads:

"Let brotherly love continue. 
Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares."
— Hebrews 13:1-2

I am sure that these noble "strangers" have entertained angels often. For a fleeting second, I felt as if there were angels in my presence. 

I was not expecting to experience a moment that gave me such a reason to pause in just a parking lot. Of course, my eyes began to well up with tears (of joy) as I remembered this scripture. Then I looked down at Lily and thought, "Does Lily entertains angels?" Truthfully, I really didn't need a Divine answer because I know she does.  

I often wonder what Lily was like before she came to this earth. Or even what she’ll be like when we get to the other side—after this life.  I look forward to sitting with her and having millions of saved up conversations. Someday. Maybe even in this lifetime, but not today.

As I rolled Lily in her stroller over to our car, I felt impressed to turn around and take a snapshot of this moment. I pulled out my iPhone and took a picture of all the buses lined up around the school that would take these remarkable spirits to their earthly homes. 

Now, whenever I look at this picture, I will always be reminded of this day.  More significantly, I am reminded that there is a greater plan—for these special strangers, for us, for my brother, Cody, AND especially for Lily.

On a lighter note, I got my second speeding ticket today. That makes two in four days. Heaven help me. I'm practically a felon.