Monday, June 16, 2014

DC Week 70!-- June 16, 2014

On Tuesday, I got a call from Elder Giles, one of the assistants.

He briefly explained to me that there was a woman in the Potomac ward
who was in need of a few sisters to sing at an event. (President had
given him my name for some odd reason). I tried to ask for more
details, but all he had for me was her name and number, and apologized
for the lack of info. So I took what I could get, thanked him, and
called Jalynn that night.

She was grateful I called, as she had no way of getting in touch with
me, and seemed a tad desperate to get something in place before it was
too late. I simply told her that I didn't know all the details yet,
but that I would be willing to help with whatever she needed.

Jalynn proceeded to tell me the story of a woman from their ward:

She had traveled from the time she was a young girl. Very accomplished
in both the political and social scenes. In addition to that, she was
a strong convert to the church, and although she married later in
life, had successfully raised one son in the gospel. Jalynn continued
to explain how in 1993, while only in her early forties, this woman
suffered an immense stroke which would alter her future forever. Life
as she knew it had changed completely. As a direct result, she became
completely paralyzed on one whole half of her body. In following
years, she suffered two more strokes, and though they were not as
detrimental at the first, continually weakened her mortal body, until
she had to permanently be placed in a resting home shortly thereafter.
She was cared for by her husband and own mother, until her sweetheart
passed away just two years ago. Following his death, her nonmember
sister, Diana, began to take care of her at the rest home. She was
there almost every day to offer comfort and support in that desperate
time of need.

Jalynn explained how it was during this time about a year and a half
ago that several of the sister missionaries had received her new
address, and had begun to pay her weekly visits. Diana mentioned that
upon their arrival each Monday, her sister's face would just light up!
The sisters would hardly ever do more than sit on the edge of the bed
and listen to her tell stories from long ago. Stories of Rome, and
Paris. Stories of Ambassador Galas, and Relief Society quilt tying
activities. Then, at the end of each visit, before they would leave,
they would always sing to her. Normally just one or two hymns. Always
a cappella. They had to sing quite loudly because her sister was
almost completely deaf in one ear, and all the noisy machinery didn't
make it any easier. Either way, she would listen. Intently. Captured.
Diana confided in Jalynn that she never saw her sister so happy than
on those days the sisters would come. Their singing quickly became
"tradition" and even, expected, at the close of each visit. The sweet
harmonizing would almost lull her to sleep. Then they would carefully
lean over the hospital bed and give her a goodbye kiss on the cheek.
It was like clockwork. Beautiful clockwork.

I kept listening to Jalynn:

"...So we felt it only fitting to select a few sisters who would be
willing to come and sing at Pagie's funeral this Saturday morning, and
would love if you would be willing to help us with that. What do you

And then it hit me.

"Pagie?" I asked. "You mean Paget Hinch? She passed away?"

"Yes, sweetheart, she did," came the soft reply. "Did you know her?"

"................I was one of those sisters."

I almost didn't believe the words as they were spoken from my mouth. I
thought it all sounded too familiar. I knew I had heard that story
before...but whether from a dream or reality, I couldn't recall until

"...Really??....We had wanted to ask one of them but had absolutely no
clue where to start to get in touch with them, and then realized that
they wouldn't even be out on their missions anymore," Jalynn

"I leave in two weeks," I informed her as the tears began to spill
over my cheeks.

They didn't stop for about 20 minutes either.

"Oh Honey.....Honey I'm so sorry," Sister Prince began.

I didn't hear most else of what was said over the phone--poor Jalynn.
It was a very bittersweet moment. I guess, I just always assumed those
kinds of crazy non-coincidental experiences were only for other
people. Everyone else, actually. Everyone else, but me. Don't know
why. I still don't know how President decided to give my name. Of all
the sisters in the Washington DC North mission. But one thing's for
sure, I have no doubt there was a very small dose of revelation in
that choice.

This was my miracle this week family. And yes, it was sweet to be able
to sing at Pagie's funeral. I was joined by Sister Weber, another
sister who had the opportunity to know and sing to Pagie after I left
White Oak. It was very touching. We sang I Am a Child of God, Families
Can Be Together Forever, and I'll Go Where You Want Me To Go. A good
portion of the congregation were not members of the church, including
Diana, and Pagie's mother. You couldn't mistake the strong Spirit that
accompanied us that summer morning. They were able to feel something
different, sparked by a few simple primary songs, and a hymn. Don't
underestimate the power of music. Or of the little things. That's
something I have gained a strong testimony of since being here.

I distinctly remember sitting at the foot of Pagie's hospital bed
listening to her talk for almost an hour, all the while smiling and
wondering to myself as a new missionary...."What is my purpose here?
Are we just wasting the Lord's precious time?" I remember singing with
Sister Nakatsuka, and thinking, "What is this really doing for her?
And really, let's be honest, how much is she really hearing? And
aren't there prepared people right outside this rest home just waiting
for us to leave so we can teach them?" As much as I wanted to
understand all the ripple effects of what I was doing in those
precious moments...I wouldn't find out....not until I had learned the
lesson. I wouldn't truly benefit from knowing if I hadn't figured it
out for myself. But they come. The ripple effects come.

Family, remember the little things. Cherish the small moments. Because
those small flecks of gold will begin to pile up in your personal
treasuries...and then, one day, you will look back....and you will be

I love you all.
Sister Graff

PS--If you want to re-read one of my first experiences with Pagie, it
was in an untitled email, which should have been "DC Week 15!"
(5/22/13). I have a picture of us together somewhere, but couldn't
find it. Remind me later, and I will.

1. Diana, Sister Weber, Me, Jalynn Prince, Pagie's mom.
2. Circa 5:30 am this morning :)
3. Last city trip...
4. Best part about big cities: there are tons of hidden places.
5. It was a humid one's me in front of the Capitol.

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