Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Still Call Australia Home...Wish It Was Closer!!

I've been living in the United States for nearly 29-years now.
I have lived here longer than I lived in Australia.
I still consider myself very much "Australian."
Though, for the past year I have been mulling over becoming an United States Citizen.
It is amazing to me sometimes, that even though it has been 29/30 years since I have seen some of the people that I grew-up knowing in Australia, they still have the ability to touch my life.  
One of the most difficult things to cope with living thousands of miles away, are the life changing moments.  I do miss the fun things like when the ladies in my family would get together once a month for lunch.  It is always difficult to miss fun things.  Birthdays, engagements, weddings and births.  But, perhaps the hardest to cope with are the deaths.  Aunts, Uncles, little nephews, family friends...
My Dad, my Mum and my brother.
All are grieved, all are missed.

This week I have been thrown for a bit of a loop.
Via facebook I found out that someone I knew from growing-up in Australia had been ill and the prognosis was grim.  I had reconnected with the family a little via facebook, and I followed his daughter's blog.
In church on Sunday, the congregation sang, "Abide With Me."  I have always loved that hymn, but, on Sunday, it caused the tears to flow.  I kept thinking of the Triffitt family, what had been and what was to come for their family.

Lisa King blogged about her Dad HERE.
If you check out her blog, be sure to read the two posts about her Dad.

That Sunday morning in church, it hit me.
I knew why I was feeling so emotional.

Way back in 1983 - can it really be that long ago??  Nick Triffitt was my Bishop at church.
A Mormon bishop is the leader of a local congregation (known as a ward) with duties similar to those of a pastor, priest or rabbi.
I was 20-years-old (nearly 21) and at a bit of a crossroads in my life.  I was dating someone pretty seriously, but I wanted to serve a mission for my church.  Nearly everyone thought I should get married, well, at least everyone who shared their 2 cents worth with me!!!  I went and spoke with Bishop Triffitt and told him that I wanted to go on a mission.  He also thought that I should consider the marriage route.  Finally, he said that we both should spend the week praying about it, and next Sunday dedicate a fast to the situation.  We would meet again that Sunday after church.
When I walked into his office, Bishop Triffitt had the papers that needed to be filled out sitting on his desk.  He said that we needed to get things moving as quickly as possible, that the Lord wanted me to serve a mission.
Looking back, Bishop Triffitt was a very young Bishop.  He may have been young, but he made a difference in people's lives.  I only wish that it had all clicked with me earlier.  He listened to the promptings of the spirit and in return, guided me.  I will be forever grateful and I hope he knows that his guidance set in motion a happy life.

I do have one more story to tell, and I like to think that my Mum is confessing this to the injured party!  Maybe she already did, but my kids love this story!!
When Nick Triffitt was still Bishop, my Mum made him a Christmas fruit cake.  In the weeks leading up to Christmas, Mormon Bishops conduct tithing settlements with members of the church.  It can result in some very long Sundays for the Bishop.  So, Mum made one of her fruit cakes for him to munch on during the afternoon.
Mum used alcohol to soak the fruit.
Usually not a problem for the alcohol is cooked out as it bakes.
This particular year my Mum forgot the alcohol step.
Not thinking, Mum poured some alcohol over the top of the fruitcake as it sat cooling.
Bishop Triffitt said it was the best fruitcake he had ever had.
I told my Mum that I hoped he wasn't pulled over by the police on the way home!!

My thoughts and prayers are with Nick Triffitt's family as they mourn the loss of a husband, father, brother, grandfather...
A few years ago I was attending our church's temple in Orlando.  Each of the temples have a beautiful room called the Celestial room.  There wasn't anyone else in there for a short period of time and I was waiting for Jim.  There was a brother and sister (siblings, not just a brother and sister in a church sense) there who were attending the temple for the very first time in preparation for going on missions.  There were many family and friends attending with them, and as they came into the Celestial room, they stood by the doors and waited for the brother and sister to come in.  As they did, everyone hugged everyone and the tears flowed.  Joy on every one's face.  Happiness.
I remember thinking that this is what it was going to be like.
This is how it would be when I got to seem my Mum, Dad, brother and our little Emma.
This is how I imagine my former Bishop.
Joy and happiness.

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