Salvation not condemnation. Our Bishop said this simple little phrase a couple Sundays ago, in the context of an announcement and not buried in a talk. I wrote the phrase down. I like it. And I believe he meant it to mean something for each of us, as in pointing a direction.
A mature couple from our region spoke this Sunday of their experience of senior missionary work in England. I enjoyed listening to both of them speak and with great humility about their time spent in helping with a youth camp in England. They are planning another mission and will be leaving again soon. They live in one of our coastal small communities. Part of their talk was to encourage some of us in our retired years to step up to this opportunity of senior missionary work.
I was particularly taken by how she, as a mother, included in her presentation letters she had solicited from her adult children in how they managed in their parents' absence. They have ten children, I believe she said, and she probably read about six of the brief letters. She talked about the events in their lives she had missed while they were away in England. As I listened, I felt my own stomach tightening knowing that should my children be having such events in their lives, my immediate reaction would be to get back home to be with them. As if my being there with them would somehow ameliorate the circumstance they were having to face. She spoke of one adult child who had cancer, another adult child who lost their business, another adult child who lost business and employment and decided to enlist in the Army (my immediate thoughts of Afghanistan deployment), another adult child who was married, and another adult child who had birthed a new baby.
Afterwards I spoke with them and asked her how she was able to remain overseas with these events happening in her children's lives. The answer she gave me resonated with me in a useful way as I deal with my own feelings regarding the geographical distance with my own adult children as they cope with events in their lives. She said, 'you know how as a mother you don't tell your children everything about how you are feeling because you don't want to burden them; well it's true in reverse too. The children didn't tell me everything while I was gone, and I learned of some of these events after we returned.'
It was a good reminder for me. I know my children don't tell me even a percentage of what is going on with them as events occur in their lives, until after they have dealt with it in their own way. They tell me after the fact and more to let me know that they did deal with it and did so in a responsible manner. As my own instincts shout at me that I would have wanted to drop everything and rush to their side, that is not quite what they are wanting from me. They want to reassure me that they handled and managed their challlenges, and explain how they managed it. And even though they have been adults managing their lives for some time now, and my head knows this absolutely, my heart feelings do not match up with my head thoughts on the matter.
Enough snippets for now. We received our copies of our baptism papers, which, and I must smile when I share this, I have put away in the big, old fashioned King James leather bound, Family Bible, replete with family history, color picture sections with copies of some of the old painting masters biblical interpretations. It's an tradition from yesteryear, I know, but it brings me comfort. Many families had one of those big ol' Family Bibles, where record keeping was done. I believe my mother still has hers.
This morning I listened to an exceptional podcast, or at least I found it to be exceptional. The tone was respectful and honored the fact of the courage of some of the men who have made an impact on the direction of the church. It was not a hail to the chiefs kind of talk, rather the speaker, author Greg Prince who gave the presentation spoke of these men as people of courage while reminding us they were not sainted, rather men of their era and historical times, engaged in trying to lead a church in directions it may not have wished to be led, the men being a bit quietly resolute and therefore a bit extraordinary in being willing to hold the line in leading in a difficult direction.
Link and a copy/paste of the promo of the podcast.
As a part of the March 2011 Mormon Stories Conference in New York City, author Greg Prince spoke on the topic of 21st Century Lessons from Three 20th Century Men: David O. McKay, Leonard Arrington and Paul H. Dunn.
Greg Prince is the author of David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism. He is currently working on biographies of both LDS Church Historian Leonard Arrington and deceased LDS General Authority Paul H. Dunn.
And I'm inclined to get down the words I heard her husband say at the end of his part of the presentation. Words I am more familiar with and can say with comfort; 'I know the gospel is true, I know Jesus is the Christ, I know He is our Redeemer and Savior'.
Also because the talks today in the last meetings had a focus on choice, and free agency, I could strongly feel the comfort of words I liked saying in our Episcopal days. It gave me comfort in the acknowledgement that it is impossible not to have made mistakes throughout the week, that those omissions could be forgiven, and that I might do better in the week to come.
Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent. For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us; that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your Name. Amen.