Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Ephemeral

A couple of weeks ago I looked at the huge maples outside my window at work. They were in full golden fire as if they burned from within. I watched the wind blow, stealing armfuls of leaves and realized within days the leaves would be off their branches and in some clean-up crew's bags. I couldn't help but admire and pine for the ephemeral beauty of fall.

The leaves are gone now; some fell in their complete beauty, others clung until brown and crispy. I watched as the gardeners blew them into piles, dragged them off on a huge drop cloth and piled them in their truck. The sun shines strongly through the naked trees into my office and I have a lovely unobstructed view of Library Square. Yet, I still cannot get the beauty of those dying leaves out of my mind.

I've had two lovely friends die in this past year. One was much too young and the other was youthful, even into her eighties. Both glowed from within as if they kept a constant fire alight inside. I want to be like them--burning as brightly as possible until the very last second.

One was a father of six who had more energy than ten people. I've never seen anyone double (or quadruple) task like him. He could be on the phone, holding a meaningful conversation with the person he was physically with, drive a car and decide what would be the best thing to do next, all at the same time. He organized people, companies (probably empires), had an incredible family and was good to the core. He was a thoughtful bishop and made me want to be a better human. He was one of those people who changed the way I thought about things. I remember sitting in Sacrament Meeting and hearing him speak and truly being inspired--inspired enough to change some bad habits.

I love his family and his wife. They are examples of understanding and testimony. I often try to think of what I would do in the same situation and hope that I could be half as valiant as them. He was and I am sure is one of the shiniest people I've ever known.

My other friend Mildred typed up the program for Sacrament Meeting each week and was our Ward Librarian. She had been librarian for years and prepared every lesson's visual aids, games, or activities and had them on file. She and the other librarians prepared a folder filled with these helps each week for every teacher in the ward. If you did not pick them up--they would be delivered to you.

She kept me in line. She made sure I let her know who the new teachers were and helped me stay organized. She prepared my program for the Primary Sacrament Meeting Presentation each year--usually re-typing anything I produced.

Every Sunday morning at 8:15am as I set up chairs for the children, she came in and visited. We talked about everything. We talked about her exercises that she did daily so that arthritis wouldn't immobolize her, we talked about our plans for the week, we talked about our various medical conditions and we just talked. One day 2 months before she died, we talked about how she wasn't feeling well. She was diagnosed with terminal cancer soon after. She continued to prepare the programs, and call people to make sure things were being done until the week she died.

I miss them both. I miss them because honestly they were one of the few people who actually made my life easier and more fun, I miss them for who they were, I miss them because of how I felt when I was with them. I want to be like them. I want to be useful, to make people's lives easier and better because they know me.

They passed in full and unfaded beauty. I've got a long way to go to measure up to my two dear friends who I know are stirring things up on the other side.


  1. Eden, Beautiful writing, you warmed my heart! Thank you!

  2. Cindy! You always warm my heart!