Occasionally, a bird will fly into our front window. We love birds, so it is always a sad experience when this happens. I don’t wash that window very often to cut down on bird injuries. (That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.) Sometimes the birds aren’t hurt and fly away. Sometimes they are dazed, rest for a time on our porch, and then fly away. Sometimes they are seriously injured and we try to give them aid. Sometimes they hit hard enough to lose their lives.
A few nights ago, we heard a thud and ran for the front window. We got to the porch and saw a little mourning dove on her back, but her tail was still moving. In the few seconds that I thought about whether to try to put her back on her feet or to leave her alone, I saw her tail feathers flutter ever so softly and then become perfectly still. A wave of peace came over me that I can’t adequately describe. We stood there on the porch and watched as her spirit left her body.
I have felt that peace before. I was with my father when his spirit left his body. I have been with friends just prior to death, though I was not actually there at the exact moment of death. The experience with the bird the other night was a gift to me. My brother passed away recently. I was not there, and did not experience that peaceful moment. I hadn’t even thought about it. That silent moment with the mourning dove on my porch was a reminder of the peace my brother is experiencing. He no longer has pain. His worries are gone. He is at peace.
The world sees birth and death as the beginning and the end. But because of God’s holy plan, we know that birth and death are actually just milestones on our journey to eternal life with our Heavenly Father. They are essential parts of our Father’s plan—sacred moments when mortality and heaven intersect. Today, reflecting on what I have learned from observing birth and death through my years of medical practice and Church service, I want to testify of our Father’s glorious plan. …
Even in our moments of deepest grief, in the moments when time stands still and life seems so unfair, we can find comfort in our Savior because He suffered as well. … There is so much more to our existence than just what happens between birth and death. (Elder Weatherford T. Clayton, Of the Seventy, “Our Father’s Glorious Plan,” Apr. 2017 General Conference).
As I read Elder Clayton’s talk, I was reminded that the time we are here on the earth is just a blip on the eternal clock. We are here for a short moment compared to the time we spent in the preexistence and the time we will spend with our Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and our families when we leave here.
I stated in a previous article that this is my new favorite quote:
Therefore, let your hearts be comforted concerning Zion; for all flesh is in mine hands; be still and know that I am God. (Doctrine and Covenants 101:16)
The peace that I felt with the mourning dove, with my father, and with my friends, is a gift from the Holy Ghost. He is often called the Comforter. He comforts, but He also testifies of eternal truths. The peace I felt was a great comfort to me, but it was also confirmation of the eternal truth that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ live.
Christ was born of an earthly mother, lived, ministered, suffered, atoned, bled, and died so that we can return home—forgiven and cleansed. He was resurrected so that we can also be resurrected. There is no end to the gifts we receive from our Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. We just need to “be still” so that we can feel those gifts when they come to us through the Holy Ghost.
Peace can be found at other times other than death. We can have peace simply by living a righteous life so that the Holy Ghost can abide with us.
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. (John 14.27)
Jesus gave us the gift of the Holy Ghost so that we could have peace, and so we didn’t have to be afraid of anything in our lives, or what is to come afterwards. All we have to do is live in faith. Peace comes by faith through the Holy Ghost. Peace is ours if we accept the gift. I’m grateful for the wonderful gift of peace.
Tudie Rose is a mother of four and grandmother of ten in Sacramento, California. You can find her on Twitter as @TudieRose. She blogs as Tudie Rose at http://potrackrose.wordpress.com. She has written articles for Familius. You will find a Tudie Rose essay in Lessons from My Parents, Michele Robbins, Familius 2013, at http://www.familius.com/lessons-from-my-parents.