Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sunday Thoughts

Today was our annual Primary program in Sacrament Meeting. Twice it brought tears to my eyes. Twice! That's pretty remarkable for a non-crier like me.

1. They chose two little girls that were 5-6 to sing a solo verse of I Love to See the Temple. One was a girl who has had a pretty tough life so far and she is not one who usually participates much. Her grandparents just beamed.

The other was a little girl who had cancer last year. She's in remission now. She stood up at the microphone with her short curls (she lost all her hair), cute as can be, and sang confidently in the sweetest little voice. Her dad was sitting across the aisle from us and was just sobbing as he watched his little girl sing. I felt like I could read his thoughts on his face as he looked up at her, the daughter that was in and out of the hospital for a year. I'm sure they wondered so many times how long she would be with them, and there she was, singing about the temple. Totally got to me.

2. At the end of the program, the children sang I Am a Child of God. They had taught them a verse in Czech and a verse in either Samoan or Somalian (I was a little fuzzy on that and Lucas couldn't clear it up). They had our darling Haitian family sing a verse in French. The last verse had multiple languages at the same time. I love it when I am touched anew by a song I have heard probably thousands of times. (Marc took Eva out in the hall because she was being disruptive and didn't get to hear all of it.) I love Primary.

A new family with two young women just moved into our ward this week. Two of the Laurels made a big welcome poster and put it up on their window. They came to church today and the girls just clamored around them, included them and made them welcome and wanted. I am just so proud of our girls, they amaze me.

Tonight we had a youth fireside in our bishop's home. There was such a huge turnout that they had to keep getting more and more chairs and squishing the rows closer and closer together. I so wish I had brought my notebook so I could take notes (what was I thinking?).

The YM and YW presidents each spoke briefly, then each member of the bishopric (all in an hour!). The topics were: modesty, music, and testimony. When I heard what the topics were, I was all prepared to hear the same old things I've heard so many times before (ever the optimist). But it was all fresh, and so well-done.

One speaker told a story about a friend of his who is a professional trapper. While checking his traps one day, he discovered a skunk. He hadn't intended to catch a skunk, but he decided he would ever so carefully remove its pelt anyway. He worked painstakingly, and when finished, he was so pleased that he had managed to complete the task without disturbing the area responsible for that skunk smell. He proudly returned home to share his success with his family, but when he walked in, they all said, "Ew! Dad! You stink! What did you do to get sprayed by a skunk?!"

Of course, he then related this to the youth, saying that even when they think they are unaffected by unsavory music or influences, they can't help but having some of it rub off. Likewise with wholesome, pure influences in their lives -- they can't walk away untouched. He got teary as he spoke of his love for his four daughters and how incomprehensible it was for him to think of anyone ever regarding them as objects to be used for their own satisfaction. He spoke of how highly our Father in Heaven regards women, how pleased He is by their tenderness, their delicate sensibilities, and how those things cannot survive in this world without being actively protected.

Our bishop related an experience he had a couple of years ago. He finally fulfilled his dream of purchasing a motorcycle. That same day, he went for a ride up the canyon. The bike was new to him, and the road had recently been re-done and the lanes changed, so it was somewhat unfamiliar. As he came to a sharp turn in the road, he realized he was going too fast, and he nearly collided with an oncoming truck. He didn't have time to slow down, so he leaned way over and managed to barely escape. (Incidentally, the phone rang right as he started to tell this story, and his wife stepped out to answer it. He had never told her this story and said it was a blessing that she got called away right then!)

He spoke about the need for preparation, the sharp turns that we are suddenly confronted with, and the need for each one of our youth to develop a firm testimony to see them through difficult times. He cited a scripture (which of course eludes me now) which essentially says that if we can't handle the little things, then our Heavenly Father won't trust us with the larger things. But if we can hold fast to the little things, our Father will reward us with greater and greater knowledge and experience. He reminded them that Joseph Smith was only 14 years old when he received the First Vision, and that, while they most likely will not receive a personal visitation, they definitely have the potential for having amazing spiritual experiences now, in their youth.

I was glad Max was there with me.
It was a wonderful Sunday.


amy m said...

It sounds like one of those Sunday's where the experiences never end. I love that.

Ah, the primary. How could you not cry, even for a non-crier. Having had callings all over the ward, but mostly in the primary, I've realize there is a spirit there you can't find anywhere else.

Of course your fireside has got me dreaming of being with the youth again. I miss the girls. I love the stories your Bishop told and how he applied them to life. Gaining a testimony for a youth is so important. I always think of what I went through when I was 16 and if I hadn't had a testimony of the Savior I would have never made it through.

I will never let Adam get a motorcycle.

Jill said...

What a fabulous Sunday! The primary program ALWAYS gets me, and did this year even though I wrote it and was there for our many practices, it's powerful!

Your fireside sounds so great. I love those personal experiences that become metaphors for life.

crystal said...

You can see why Christ said suffer the children to come unto me. They are precious.

I loved your fireside stories!

rmt said...

What a great post. It just made me feel good to read it.

The story about the girl with cancer was so touching. I can only imagine how her parents must have been feeling. I would have been sobbing, too.

Denise said...

Wow--a spiritual feast, indeed! How fortunate for you.

I think the reason we can hear the same topics presented over and over again and still find them fresh is that truth never goes out of style. (It also helps, of course, to have really good speakers :)).

Barb said...

We had a multi-cultural flavor to our sacrament meeting presentation which I really enjoyed.
I also love it when I get a fresh presentation on a familiar gospel topic.

patsy said...

what a wonderful Sabbath!! I am so glad you posted this. I'm just now getting to read it. It's already been a crazy week? how is that possible.... (maybe I'm exagerating just a little)

I love the idea of singing in different languages! I am going to try to do that this week in Primary.

Amie said...

What a great day and a great post. I was crying and didn't even get to be there in person for any of it. I love that you had a fabulous Sunday and that you shared so I could live vicariously.

Robyn said...

Wow, all those stories are amazing. What an uplifting Sunday. I feel bad for those people who choose not to go to church and partake of these things. It's such a blessing and there always seems to be something we need to hear.

I am always a bawling mess during the Primary program. Ours is the 9th- I'd better get the Kleenex ready!

Susan said...

I am never disappointed with your Sunday Thoughts and always left with such tender feelings for your interpretations and sharings. I am so grateful for your testimony with each experience and feel so blessed that you are part of me!

Your review always lifts and touches my heart. Thank you.

Marie said...

What a great Sunday! I love youth firesides. They are really great, and the primary presentation sounds wonderful too.

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