Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Much Needed Vacation

I spent the weekend in Mt Pleasant, at a friends retreat in a little pioneer home. This was the same place where I went to be alone to work out some kinks on Remembering Isaac a couple of years ago . I took the family and some friends for a glorious weekend of peace and relaxation. There is something magical about laying in a hammock under the autumn sky. I love all the seasons, but Fall has always had a special place in my heart. The colors, the scents on the wind. There is something so amazingly wonderful about the sweet smell of willows in the fall. The colors, the sound of the wind, the clouds that blow across the sky, the sight and sound of geese and other birds flying south. I love it all. There is something special about Mt Pleasant. It is in the middle of Sanpete County. It is a place where time has a different meaning. I have always felt this way about this place.

My friends purchased this cabin 14 years ago, shortly after their son was murdered up Emigration Canyon. He had gone out to take pictures of the moon with his girlfriend. He was shot and killed instantly by a young man who wanted to see someone die. His girlfriend was shot several times, missing every vital organ, and then left for dead. She survived. This cabin has served for years as a place of refuge for the family who has suffered so intensely. Three years ago, another of their sons passed away from cancer. This has been very hard on my friends. Being down there at their cabin this weekend, I realized how much hope there is in this family. It is a place of peace and quiet reflection. I wish there were more places like this left in the world. It is a place where you can always hear the sound of the wind in the trees. There is always peace, always hope, always a haven for those who seek it there.

I came home with a cold. My voice is gone and so I had to cancel my signing yesterday and will likely cancel my signing tomorrow. I simply cannot talk without pain. I'll get better. Meanwhile, I had a very nice man stop by yesterday to pick up fifteen books to share with friends and family for Christmas. I met him last week in Bountiful at Costco. He purchased the third book in the store and talked me into selling him copies of book one and two in the parking lot since Costco is not currently carrying them. He explained that he had been reading the books to his wife and they had been touched . I have had the chance to speak to book clubs in the last few days too an have sold more than 100 books there, along with a bunch of pots. It seems like this series is gaining momentum, but not at all in the way I thought it would. People are talking and sharing and recommending the books to their friends and neighbors. It is multiplying as it rolls forward. It is so fun to receive your emails and letters, thanking me for the books. It is often very humbling to hear your stories about finding the love of God, wanting to become better, thinking more compassionately about those around you. Thanks for sharing.

Ten days ago, a big change came to my life. I was released from a calling in my church that I have held for more than six years. I am a Mormon, and like the Quakers, there is no paid ministry in my church. People take turns serving each other. For the past six years, I have served as a bishop in my congregation. It has been an intensely humbling experience over those years, one that has caused me to lean heavily on God for direction and guidance as I have made decisions that have effected many people's lives. Being released from this calling and having those responsibilities given to someone else has been another humbling experience. It has been bitter sweet, having learned to love people and knowing so much about their lives has been wonderful. I no longer have the obligation or responsibility to love my neighbors in the same way I did as bishop, but once you learn to love, I am not sure you can ever really refrain. I am grateful for the things I have learned along this journey--to look beyond the end of my own nose, to have a deeper faith, to find the beauty in every individual, to love and be loved, to join hands with other imperfect souls as we work together to become something better than we naturally are. I don't know if your life can ever be the same after something like that, and I am realizing that more and more each day. I have been a part of Niederbipp, and I hope I always will be.
So, for now, I'm signing off. I'm not sure what the future will bring, but I am ready for the ride and looking forward to it. Cheers to the journey!


Anonymous said...

I just finished Becoming Isaac, and I wanted to thank you for the years and effort you spent writing this wonderful trilogy. I was able to meet you and shake your hand last month at your Saturday book signing, at your shop. It was a pleasure, and I look forward to meeting you again. Thank you again for putting the light of the gospel into such a beautiful, approachable frame.

Tanalyn said...

I just finished the 3rd book and absolutely loved it!!! Thank you for such a wonderful story.

Chrystal said...

I'm not sure what I want to write, only that this post touched me. I lost my brother in a car accident in Feb. 2007. My faith was truly tested and it seems that only recently I feel I've found my footing again. I was comforted reading about the beautiful cabin and hope when the weather warms up I can go up in the mountains where I am always soothed. Thanks for coming to our book club this past Tuesday. I've started the 2nd book and have sent e-mails telling many friends and family about this wonderful trilogy. I am looking forward to your next book a great deal as I think it will touch on a lot of the deeper things I've been learning about faith and death and life. Enjoy your sweet family and thank you again for sharing your light.