Sunday, February 6, 2011

What Florence Has Taught Me... So Far.

Every first Sunday of the month is a fast Sunday in my church.  It gives us an opportunity for us to skip two meals for the day, and give what money we would have spend on that food as a fast offering to the church to be spent helping those in need.  It also keeps us humble and grateful for the little things that we so often take for granted, like food.  On fast Sunday (and any other day that I feel the need to fast) I find that my thoughts are brought much closer to the Lord.  I think more of him.  I think more about how temporary this life is, and helps me keep things in perspective.  During these times I often pray and ask for special blessings or guidance that I may stand in need of at the time.
During our church meetings on fast Sunday instead of having different speakers give more formal talks, the pulpit is opened up to any in the congregation who would like to bear their testimonies of the gospel. 
Today’s sacrament meeting was very special.  The spirit was very strong there.  There was a lady who got up and was talking a little about the early history of the church, this year the church women are focusing a lot on learning more about the history of the Relief Society, our women’s organization, and how we can learn from them and their faith to strengthen the sisters around us.
While she was talking I felt so strongly to share Florence’s story with the members of my ward (or congregation).  I wasn’t really sure about it at first, but the more I sat there the more I felt impressed that I needed to bear my testimony about the importance of learning our history, and how it can teach us so much.
I got up and took a seat on the stage and waited there for my turn to come.  As I contemplated what exactly I was going to say I realized that I was going to share someone else’s story, so I prayed that Florence would be able to guide my thoughts, and help me share the message that she would want others to know. 
My turn came, and I shared Florence’s story.  I had to wipe a few tears from my eyes, and I noticed several others in the congregation do the same.  As I was finishing the story words came to my mind that went something like this.
If anyone had reason to despair at the end of a long day, walking barefoot across the plains, helping push a heavy handcart with only a few of her personal belongings in it, have just buried a mother and two brothers, it was her.  But instead, at the end of a long hard days march it was said that she was often the first to get the fiddler up and going, and she would get everyone dancing.
If she could wipe the tears from her eyes, and get up and dance, and help others do the same, then I can to.  Because, though the journey is long, and hard, we are marching toward Zion.  We can find Zion all around us.  In our homes.  In our wards.  In our community if we but go out and help establish it.  And one day, when our march and work is over we can rejoice in the true and perfect Zion on high.  Where there will be no more tears, or blistered feet, or saying “good-bye” to those we love. 
From reading more about my early ancestors I find that we are just like them.  We don’t wear the same apparel, but our spirits are the same.  They came through their trails valiantly, and we can too, if we follow their example.  Take one step at a time; just keep moving continually toward Zion.
I feel such closeness to my heritage.  I feel like Florence truly taught me what she wanted me to learn from her today.  I look forward to the day (which will hopefully be many years from now) when I finally get the chance to meet her, and thank her for her example.  I know when that day comes we will rejoice in the heavenly Zion together, we’ll get the fiddler up and going… and we will dance.  Together. 

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