The other night I was thinking about my life to date.
How different choices have molded me into the person I am.
I remembered a time not too long ago that I realized was very important to me.
I just have not taken the time to address it.
Around the time I was due to have Samuel, life was hectic!
I was heavily pregnant and not feeling well at all.
Adam was 8 and Andrew was almost 3.
Wendy was preparing for marriage
and Adam (my husband) was on the road a lot.
A friend of mine sent me an email announcing that a
dear former teacher, Ray Louder, had died.
I remember thinking how much I wished I could attend his service!
Sad that he was gone for a couple of selfish reasons...I
had hoped he would perform me and
Adam's temple marriage if/when that ever happened,
and the opportunity to visit with him just one more time.
On the other hand, I was grateful.
So grateful I had the opportunity to see him a couple of years earlier.
We were at the Mount Timpanogus Temple for a family wedding.
My sister and I were standing in the waiting area before the wedding.
Something drew my attention.
I looked across the room and my eyes literally slammed into Brother Louder!
It had been about 15 years since I had seen him.
He noticed me at the same time.
I looked away thinking,
"He probably doesn't even remember me, or he will think I'm Sherry!"
(That's a story for another post!)
I looked up again and he was headed straight for me!
I will never forget the look of joy on his face as he approached me.
He didn't even say anything,
he just enveloped me in his warm embrace!
The first words out of my mouth?
"I'm Suzie, not Sherry!"
He got a confused look on his face and exclaimed,
"I know who you are!"
He was a sealer in the temple.
Not performing the ceremony we were attending,
so we didn't have much time to talk.
He never let go of my hand the whole time we spoke.
He was so interested about how my life had turned out to that point.
He really wanted to know.
For the five minutes I had with him,
we were in a little bubble, it seemed.
Then, our group was called and we parted ways.
I never saw him again.
My whole family thought I was a little nutty when we left.
I raced up to my husband and Wendy chattering about running into Brother Louder.
Fast forward 4 years and I received the news of his death.
I was crushed.
Move ahead another 4...why am I just now writing about this event?
The past few months I have pondered the relationship I have with my Father in Heaven.
Why do I sometimes have difficulty envisioning Him as a loving Father?
How could he possibly love me because I am such a bonehead at times (not all the time!)?
What example can I draw from to help me with this?
I never had a loving father at home.
I had some father-figures along the way.
Nothing every very constant.
These questions became more clear and concise over the past weeks.
Funny how this "refining fire" we call "life" can bring me the clarity I need!
I dreamed about Brother Louder.
The dream brought the pain of "what if" front and center!
The memory of seeing him, the last time...in the temple of all places...came rushing back as well.
Then, the slide show (we didn't have Power Point in the 80's!)
of my high school years began playing in my memory.
The music playing to the slide show was "You've Got A Friend"
by James Taylor.
Brother Louder was my seminary teacher my Freshman year of high school.
He was also the principal of the program for the entire school.
I had the opportunity to associate with him all four years.
It was soon evident we were going to have a great teacher/student relationship.
I learned early on if I had any issues at home or at school, he would offer a listening ear.
A few times he even gave me a Priesthood Blessing.
He was not afraid to tell me if he was disappointed in my choices or,
more importantly, that he was proud of me!
Brother Louder so often exhibited those father-like qualities to me, even after a 15 year absence, and represents such an example to me of fatherly goodness.
Someone who loved me through the years, no matter what.
Thank you, Brother Louder, for your healing hug in the temple that day!
Even though it has taken me almost 4 years to recognize it,
thank you for reminding me in person and in a dream...
that above all else,
my Heavenly Father loves me.