Tuesday, April 10, 2012
I had not been in sacrament meeting in a while for one reason or another. As I sat in the back in a chair pulled in from the foyer I was able to observe the congregation. My family and I usually sat in the front as either my daughter or I lead the music. Because of this I was never really able to really study the congregation before. I always knew who was there and I always knew where they sat, but observe, no. I'm finding that sitting in the back does have it's advantages.
As I sat in Sacrament meeting today enjoying the wonderful feeling of oneness with those who share my beliefs, my moral values, my goals and objectives, I was able to observe those in front of me. I looked around at the congregation.
I watched with a feeling of warmth as Sister Branham reached up and lovingly stroked her husband's face, then gently pulled his face closer to hers and quietly whispered in his ear, let her hand slide softly down to his shoulder, give him a pat on the shoulder and then put her arm around him. Love? I think so.
I chuckled as Brown Harmon turned to adjust the diaper bag on the floor under his pew and little Davie scurried under the same pew and hurriedly tried to get away. As those of us sitting on the back smiled broadly, Brother Harmon squeezed between the pew and the wall and to Davie's dismay grabbed him up in one fell swoop before he could get to far.
Ahead of Brother Harmon, was a new father. He quickly and quietly got up to take his beautiful newborn daughter out as she began to get fussy. I had to smile at the Easter bow she wore on her head. Big and pink, it was so large it almost covered the whole top of her head.
Just in front of him was a cutie pie of about six years old. Blonde, blue-eyed and curious. As she gazed around at everyone taking in all that she could in one glance, she was busily adjusting her Easter bonnet of pink straw with a wide satin pink ribbon.
Across from her was dear Sister Creer. She was smiling and playing with a sweet baby. She would make the perfect grandma.
Then there's Sophie Evers one of our young women. I watched as she playes with her new foster brother. I am amazed at how much love that her mother, who is a single mom, works full time, is totally devoted to her children, still has the time to be a foster mother. What a special sister.
Then I spotted Brittany Martinez another young woman. She was leading music for sacrament meeting. She is such a special young lady. She is fifteen and very talented. She stays home and makes wonderful things with duct tape. Headbands, notebooks, pencil tops, anything. She then goes on Saturday to the flea market and sells what she has made. This goes for her education, extra spending money, possibly a mission. She has a wonderful single mom who also works full time, is busy serving others, making sure their needs are met, but makes sure that she spends quality time with her daughter in teaching her the value of finding and fulling her full potential and worth.
I watch as Sister Via who is a brand new grandma for the first time helps her daughter get settled and then picks up her beautiful new granddaughter who is all smiles for grandma. Sister Via has stopped by before the meeting has begun and gives me a big hug and kiss and lets me know how glad she is to see both John and I at church. She has missed us.
Brother Young who was recently released as the High Priest group leader and is a very dear friend of ours has recently returned from traveling for two months on business. He came over and shook John's hand and gave me a hug and kiss and tells us how much he wished we had been with him at the temple the day before.
Brother Sant lovingly takes Sister Sant by the hand and leads her out of the meeting early. Sister Sant is slowly losing her eyesight and it has been very difficult for her. I remember when she was our Relief Society president. She worked so hard. She came one Sunday night when she noticed in sacrament that day that I was having excruciating pain in my left arm. I had had chiropractic adjustments for it all week, but could not alleviate the pain. I could barely move my arm. She came that night with her hollistic herbs and oils and spent three hours rubbing my arm and shoulder trying to help the pain. She was able to give me enough relief that I could sleep that night. Something I had not done in over four days. The next day, I was diagnosed with shingles. It was in the joint in my left shoulder and down my left arm...no where else. Something the doctor had never seen before. However, with a blessing and the help of a good doctor, the shingles were gone in week. The love between Brother and Sister Sant warmed my heart. They were always taking care of someone else even though they were working through their own afflictions.
I watch the Bishop who has so much love for his wife, take her hand, speak to her for a moment. give her a gentle kiss and then disappear into his deep, dark office never to be seen for the rest of the meeting schedule as he cares for the needs of his ward family.
I continued to sit and watch as so much love and affection was being showered on husband for wife, wife for husband, parent for child, child for parent. I watch as parents lovingly teach their small children how to pray, how to take the sacrament, how to be reverent. The seemingly small touches that we take for granted each day are the things that mean the most. I feel my heart swell with love as my own sweet husband of nearly forty years reaches over to rub my shoulders and back to relieve some of the discomfort that comes from sitting so long and then gently takes my hand in his. The love of my life still opens doors for me, holds a chair for me, reaches in and buckles my seat belt for me. These small gestures of love mean the most and make my day. And the countenance of my loved one shines so bright as does the countenance of those around me. The countenance of love...the pure love of Christ.
Being in church today to celebrate and honor Christ's resurrection means all of the above to me. Christ died so that we may live-live to love each other and our families-to become eternal, celestial families and live with Him again.
Have you received His image in your countenance? Does the light of Christ shine in your eyes? Will He know you when He comes again because you will be like Him? When He sees you will the Father know His child by His everlasting image in your eyes? Elder Brent H. Nielson, Second Counselor in the Area Presidency, Area Presidency Messages (Alma 5:14)