I got on the computer the other day to erase Laney’s browsing history because of all of this Google privacy stuff. But when I pulled it up, I cried instead. The last thing she had been looking at was a song called I Hope I Make You Proud. It hit me all of a sudden how very proud I was of her. How I hope I make HER proud by the way I act now.
It gives me hope, wanting to make her proud of me. I know she is close, and is watching out for us and finding ways to bless us. So when I consider the actions of each day, I hope I make her proud. I hope that as I try to help others along their way, she knows that part of it it is because I want to make her proud.
As I look back over the things I have done in my life, I ask myself if my kids know how proud I am of THEM. Do they know how I am so proud that they have the courage to stand for what they believe? Proud that they are making good choices? Proud that they belong to ME? Proud at how they serve others? Proud at the young adults they are becoming?
Whatever my new normal becomes without Laney, I hope to make all of my kids proud of ME. Proud that I rise above whatever life throws at me and carry on. Proud that I am not afraid to cry anymore. Proud that I can serve others and find joy in doing it. Proud that I know who is guiding my life and that I too have courage to stand for what I believe. Proud that I can reach outward, even if my heart is broken. Even if I don’t understand the purpose for this trial in our lives.
Whatever life brings us, and through whatever trials we face, I hope I make them proud by the way I live my life. If we face everyday with courage, I have no doubt that those around us will see it, and maybe it will help them carry on. And make themselves proud, too.
It is so important to remember to be always be kind to others. You don’t know what battles someone else is fighting today. You don’t know if the comment you make in passing can be the last straw in a very hard day for someone. Or the thing that helps them through the day.
It happens all the time. People say things to someone, totally unaware that the person they are talking to may be struggling through the day.
I had one of those days just this week. What started out as a rough morning with the fridge going out, turned worse when someone said something very hurtful. I don’t think it was even directed at me. But it was very insensitive and said in a very public way.
Then at home, missing Laney hit me, and I ended up in tears. Oh, did I mention that my garage door also broke? I ended the day deep in discouragement hoping that the next day would be better. (Thanks to my angel niece who always knows when I need her, it was)
As our own trials make us more compassionate, it should always be our goal to say kind words to others. We don’t know what battles someone is facing today. For some, it means putting your arm around the one who is struggling and telling them it will be ok. For others, it could be as simple as a smile.
When Wade and I were first married, we lived in a small town smack dab in the middle of Utah. We had the fortune to live across the street from this amazing family, the Bradleys. The dad ALWAYS waved at everyone as he drove along. Or as they drove by him. I often wondered what made him so happy, and why in the world he smiled and waved at everyone. I can now look back and know that although he didn’t know he was doing it, he was lifting me, helping to brighten my life. And it worked. Now, every time I think about it, I smile. And sometimes I wave.
Laney was a goer. Once she hit high school, she wasn’t home very much. She was always with her friends having fun or working or playing whatever sport was in season. She formed the four square club and the hiking club. But the night of her accident, we found out exactly what she had been out doing. And it was amazing.
We had heard that people were posting things about Laney on her Facebook wall. We were afraid to look, though. We were already having such a difficult time that we didn’t think we could handle it, so we didn’t look at it until 3 am.
We sat there for the next hour or so reading, with tears streaming down our faces. We knew Laney was amazing. All parents think their kids are amazing, don’t they? But, we truly knew the extent of Laney’s good works when we read things like, “I don’t even think Laney knew my name, but she always said hi to me,” or, “Laney helped me through _______ ( fill in the blank).”
We knew that instead of toilet papering peoples’ houses, she would “chalk” their driveways with nice messages. We knew that she included everyone in whatever she was doing. Including her younger sisters. One of their last memories is going to the lake with Laney and her friends. They had a marvelous time and love how she wasn’t afraid to take them along.
But the most amazing thing is that every week Laney went to the temple to do baptisms for the dead. And she took along a group of people. She took her three little sisters as soon as they turned twelve. Their first experience was with Laney.
After she died, Brynna noticed an app on her phone that logged the number of times she performed an ordinance. In 2011 alone, she performed 119 baptisms and 118 confirmations. At nine different temples. Think about it. They only allow you to do five baptisms at a time. FIVE. She was indeed out about doing much good. We continue to be amazed by her example of always being about, doing much good. I only hope we can be a little more like her.