Back and forth is a great phrase to express everything about the year 2013. Back and forth emotions, back and forth physical locale, back and forth....oh heck just everything!
First my beloved husband of 27 years moved.....FAR AWAY....to the spiritual realm. Talk about LONG DISTANCE MOVE? It was most annoying that he did NOT take a single physical possession with him.
The next move was our beloved oldest daughter. She moved for a lovely job that she got where she works with history on a daily basis...yup she loves it!
Then there was my move. Have you EVER gone through the boxes, bags, and containers of 27 years of your life? Every single thing to pack has a memory attached that can send you reeling into tears, sorrow, and did I mention, WOW Nyle moved way too far away!
I moved (with the help of numerous beloved family and friends) on a Saturday. On Sunday I slept ALL DAY....moving is exhausting....bone drying, dregs of physicality EXHAUSTING! On Monday I went back to my former place and cleaned....again with the help of beloved friends who are family..
Tuesday my daughter and I packed up her school possessions, and off we went to her college where she is finishing her last year with honors. She's such a smartie!!!
Wednesday I drove home. Then Thursday came....DUM DA DUM!!! No Nyle....no kids...I was ridiculously grateful that I have a small doggy and 2 kitty cats. Trying to find places for all the things coming out of the boxes was ludicrous. I moved from a 3 bedroom 2 car garage to a 2 bedroom no garage. (Did I mention that I had spent 27 years collecting THINGS? Nyle as well.)
Now before any of you sigh and say, "Ah poor thing." (I really NEVER want pity....love, compassion, empathy, but NEVER pity!) I have a different picture for you to view.
Ann Shelton Howard left England, her beloved homeland, because she listened to two missionaries speak of the restoration of the gospel as Jesus taught it. She and her husband took their 7 children, and with all of their savings crossed the ocean to America.
After the rigors of traveling with 7 children across an ocean they had just begun their journey. Their destination was as the hymn "Come Come Ye Saints" sings "Far away in the west." They had little money left at this point. So they purchased a handcart....which is like a giant wheelbarrow on two wheels.
That meant that they were lucky to fit in it enough food for the lengthy journey, and a change of clothes, and that's pretty much it....because you see the giant cart had to be pulled by human hands. It was not designed to be pulled by horse or oxen, and they couldn't afford those anyway.
So with amazing faith, and high hopes for the future of their children they set out to reach the destination that they called "Zion," which in their definition was the "Pure of heart," those who shared their zeal in their newly embraced religion.
They did well for quite a while. Not far from their destination Ann gave birth. Partially due to the rigors of this cross country march the baby only lived a short time. Then she became desperately ill, probably with child bed fever.
Ann was described by family as "A woman of large stature." Remember she's ingesting next to NO food, and walking at least 15 miles a day. She was not exactly rotund, but simply a strong, big boned woman of around 200 lbs.
When she became too ill to walk the wagon company was approached. There were many in the company that had wagons pulled by horses or oxen. However, if they put her in their wagon they would have to take something else of equal weight out of their wagon.
These were tired, hungry, desperate people at this point. At first no one was willing to make that sacrifice for a stranger. Finally one dear soul agreed to let her ride in his wagon. (I hope that he received a grand reward in heaven for that kindness!)
For about a day she rode in a bed in the wagon with her head in her beloved young daughters lap to help protect her from the incredibly bumpy, rough ride of a wagon. Imagine being jolted, huge bumps, and constant rough ride when you are the sickest you have ever been? Did I also mention grieving over the loss of a precious child?
Finally in her young daughters arms she died. They buried her on the brutal prairie this woman of a cheerful disposition, a faith filled heart, and a brilliant head of red hair. There was no marker, she was hurriedly buried, probably with stones over her to keep wolves away from the grave.
Then the family marched on.
So, remembering Grandma Ann today, I suddenly feel my modern burdens lifting. The weight seems much lighter. I have a lovely car to drive when I want to go somewhere. Instead of having NOTHING of physical possessions, I have TOO MANY. I do NOT have to travel across an ocean and then a vast wilderness to live my faith. .
Somehow I feel better about my lot in life. Thanks Grandma Ann for so much sacrifice to make a better life for me, your great, great grandaughter!