Friday, September 26, 2008

Silent Sound

I.
Her wisdom’s words – spoken long ago, but now fully quieted --
Still sound in our ears, pointing out the way.

II.
The binding power of her love’s selfless acts – given for so long, but now all bound up --
Still echo in our hearts, blessing us today.

III.
In all our days of need she was always there for us.Now she’s just . . . there.

In all her days alone she sits there silently -- without us.
Soon we’ll be there.

For now, her communication is
Soundless and unspoken,
Dulled, muted, and verbally stifled
Till that Great Day when none shall be voiceless.


IV.
Sitting all by herself, with Heaven alone looking down on her -- and into her soul,
She’s stares out the window,
Alone again.

Now together with her again,
Sometimes she stares blankly straight ahead, but then in a moment, straight into our eyes.
We sit with and talk to and walk with her – looking back deep into her eyes and heart.

Too infrequently, the silent sound is
Broken with a Hello or a (heart-rending) Goodbye,
Punctuated with an occasional giggle or laugh,
Or is pierced with an audible (sacred), “I love you.”


V.
Now, when she speaks, jumbled syllables escape her lips.
But she, though hushed to less than a whisper,
Speaks louder than a thousand pictures.

VI.
Staring out into our world -- but elegantly pondering alone there in her own,
I imagine that she hears the faint inklings of the sounds and wonderment of Eternity
Which, unknown to her outer self, speaks to her an inner satisfaction and joy.

Though her expressions no longer find voice, ever longer will they touch us.
Ever will her smothered, speechless silence sound in our souls.
Ever let us remember and love and cherish her -- and her everlasting impact on us.

~

Scott L. Vanatter, September 2008 (Poem for Lee Allen in honor of her 80th birthday: Sister, Mother, Mother-in-law, Grandmother, and Great Grandmother.)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Moments of Vision

Growing Up
I saw unconditional love, all my life. I knew my parents loved me. Never doubted; never.

Loving Becky
I could feel something deep within; something new and real -- when I spoke the words to my sweetheart, “I love you.” Overwhelming; shockingly overwhelming. And I meant it. My whole soul was enlivened with true, heaven-yearning emotion.

Becoming Aware of Eternal Things
I knew it was the right thing to do -- when I prayed and spoke with Him about the restored Gospel. I should join. As I knelt, I already knew what the answer was. Overwhelming rightness. Peace. Go forth.

In a moment, I became awakened to the implications of Joseph’s mission. I intuited the reality of his mission and of his vision; that his enemies, and those who would tear him down, that the answer would always be, He was God’s Prophet. No matter what; no matter what was said against him, or about him. I knew.

Looking to the Temple with Becky
I knew in my heart and in my mind what I should do, as I knelt to ask Him, and as I was knelt in prayer, and as I stood up to go forth to ask my sweet heart to marry me in His Holy House.

Becoming a Servant
A while later, I knew, before having to kneel, that I had to go. I had to go out into the world and offer myself as a humble servant to give, and to teach, and to serve and to learn; and to prepare for life as her husband, and as the father of our sweet children.

I stood on my feet and shared my heartfelt and knowing confidence to my ward in testimony meeting before my mission, and during my Farewell, that she would be there upon my return. I never doubted; never.

Serving a Mission
I wrote in my mission journal, the first night on my mission, there in the old Mission Home in Salt Lake City in 1973, that I knew she would be my wife; that we were meant to be. Together forever. I knew. My heart burned.

I told my Mission President and others in Australia -- and was pleased to do so – in a spiritual, thankful, grateful way our story, and how she shared her testimony. Yes, she brought me such wonderful blessings; she and I had such intertwined lives, and hearts and minds.

Seeing our Daughters
I saw our daughters before they were born. Running, with joy and life and happiness beaming from their angel faces. This, as other visions, have come to pass. So fully. So beautifully.

Being in the Temple with Becky
I was calm as a cool gentle spring morning the day we entered into the Temple to be sealed for time and all eternity. Peace and love and contentment and longing and a lively hope filled my soul.

First Dinner with Becky in Our First Apartment
In our first humble attic apartment as newlyweds, and as we sat down for our first dinner, I 'saw' one thousand years into the future. I saw us together (with our extended family) in the glorious Celestial Kingdom. I could barely breath. I quickly walked away from the small kitchen table, crying, gasping for breath, into the cramped living room and fell to my knees weeping for joy. I saw the paradox of the mundane here-and-now and its connecton with a sumblime future. This plain, simple setting was a humble beginning of -- and connected to -- a glorious future.

After several minutes and a heartfelt, kneeling prayer, we repaired back to the kitchen to eat the first of our meals together. I forget what we ate. I can never forget the feeling we shared then, and share now.

Loving our Daughters
Our hearts were filled with real joy, with real love, and with such a fullness to have born to us, and to be associated with such beautiful and wonderful spirits as are our daughters. We watched them grow and saw the shear beauty of their spirits, and still do.

Baptizing our Daughters
I felt the weight, and saw as never before, my responsibility as I baptized our two daughters. Yet, even still, I slipped and was less than I should have been – in too many poor ways and circumstances. But, I got up again and again and tried to repair. I now pray the healing continues on into eternity. Permanent and peaceful and forgiven. This is my hope.

Being in the Temple with our Daughters
I stood in that Holy Place and saw them both in the Temple -- one to be Married, the other to prepare for a Mission. Never has my heart been as clear and FULL of open joy as on those two days. Not since the day I knelt across the altar with my one and only Love. That day, I was young and eager and so young that I had not experienced the full adult need and support of our Lord and Savior. By the time of these days with our daughters, I had needed it, and had received it and could -- with a full thankful heart – appreciate the beauty and the wonderful glimpse of the glorious future that the Temple experience offered me that day.

Becoming One (Extended Family)
I have seen many, many times what I should do in, and before, many callings. In my home life. In my interactions with my neighbor. I have known what I have needed to do and what I would be called upon to do. I still need, especially now, all the full interaction with the Lord and His Spirit and His Atonement -- all that I have been studying about all these years. All that I have been involved with all these years. NOW is the time to more perfectly have these ideas and principles envelope me. Now is the time to return the love our parents so freely offered. Now is the time to give such grandfatherly love to those sweet souls coming into our lives. Not just to believe. But to be.

Seeing Clearly
I see clearly what the Lord, my Eternal Friend, would have me do. Especially when He prompts me to forgive, or to be kind, or to lend a helping hand.

Going Forth
I see all of this. I desire all of this. I am thankful for all of this. I will go forth. I will bend my will to His, until His is mine.

#

Scott L. Vanatter, December 23, 2004 (For Becky and family at Christmas)