Lovely Sunday meeting

Today was a lovely Sacrament Meeting at church. The talks were all about essentially “standing alone” if you have to in order to “stand up for what you believe in.” It is sometimes hard to be “the one” or to be “different” but sometimes that is how we are and how great is our reward if we take a stand for what we believe in and it is for something that is good, wholesome, moral, and right. In today’s world there is so much that is not good or praiseworthy that we are finding ourselves with more opportunity and are we willing to take that stand? Are we willing to stand our ground and be the “peculiar” ones that not only know what is right, but do it? Are we willing to go against the status quo when we know the status quo is wrong?

It only takes a little bit of dirt the change the purity of water. Likewise, it only takes a little bit of sin to change the purity of our lives. It only takes a little bit of temptation to change our course. It only takes a little bit of sin to change our worthiness. A little bit of sin becomes a little more because we justify it and then we begin to allow more. We fall for the cunning ways of the devil and we succumb to the desires of the natural man. It only takes a little bit of temptation for us to fall. It only takes us dipping our toe in the water to justify that it is okay, it did not burn us. We become accustomed to the warmth and then allow a little more. Before too long our entire foot is submerged in temptation.

Fortunately, we can find our way back from temptation and trial of the natural man and of the spirit. We were provided with a plan to return to our Father in Heaven and we were provided with a means by which to be cleansed of our wrong doings. Through the Atonement and His eternal plan, we can repent and be made whole again. How great is our glory if we are tried and never stray from the straight and narrow path that is laid before us, but great is also our glory if we repent of our sins and misgivings and return to that straight and narrow path if we step off just a little bit or even a lot. I am grateful for forgiveness and the Atonement and the blessings it grants in our lives.

The closing hymn today was a gut wrenching one. It is one of those hymns that measures healing for me. Today, I guess a wound has been reopened. Perhaps it is a new wound that has not healed yet. I am not quite sure. Today it was tough. “How Great Thou Art” is a hymn that touches my soul deep down every time I have sung it for many years now. It is simply beautiful and glorious if you truly think about what the words are saying. It is a hymn that brings tears to my eyes but joy and warmth to my heart at the same time. It has done that ever since my Grandmother Adams passed away in 1990.

That is why I say it is a measurement of healing. If I can get through the hymn without tears streaming down my face I know that I am doing okay and my heart has healed and the blessings have overshadowed the sadness and hurt. The blessings have erased the emptiness. Maybe I should call it my hymn of deep gratitude because that is what I feel when I sing it because I know and believe so deeply in the Plan of Salvation. I trust in the Plan and believe in Eternal Families. I have faith in the Lord and that Jesus was our Savior.

At any rate, I take heart and measure how I am doing by how far I get through the hymn before the tears start flowing. This has been especially true after my best and longest childhood friend passed away in October of 2009. Until this past February, I could make it to the fourth verse. I had made progress. I could sing with heart and feel the spirit literally wrap its arms around me and I made it a little further each time. The my cousin, Joshua Blum, passed away in a car accident in February 2012. The flood gates opened again. It was amazing how quickly the heart will heal itself when you have such deep faith, knowledge, and eternal perspective. For that I am deeply grateful. I am grateful.

Today, however, I had the tears welling in my eyes before we made it through the first line of the first verse. I am not sure I had sung that hymn in a very long while. I do not remember singing it at Josh’s funeral. I was touched again about how merciful and loving our God is. How tender and giving our Heavenly Father is. How rich our blessings are. We only sang the first verse of the hymn today because the meeting was running a bit over so we will not know if I could hold it together the entire hymn today. I do not think that I would have made it…it is probably best that we leave it for another time sometime it the future to find out. It touched me today. I was moved again.

I will always remember the way this hymn makes me feel. I am grateful we have hymns that touch us in ways that make us feel…that just make us feel…

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