The following post is very long. It is not often that I post my feelings on my religion; it is something that I hold close to my heart and feel inadequate trying to explain. But after this weekends meetings I felt the need to write. Feel free to skip reading this one.
The lights in the chapel are dim. The pews are filled with women of all ages; mothers and daughters, grandmothers and friends. There is the dull roar of chatter as these women catch up on what has been happening since they were last together. I arrive a few minutes early with Erin and Boo. The room quiets as the pre-conference presentation starts and we are given a glimpse into the life of our remarkable prophet through a series of photographs. Our presenters tell of their journey around the world following President Hinkley. The pictures are wonderful. But that is not what we are here for. Finally 8 pm comes…. The conference center in Salt Lake is projected onto the screen and we see women in brightly colored blouses singing a hymn. Women’s conference starts. The Theme is 2nd Nephi 1:15 “...and I am encircled about eternally in the arms of His love.” It is not a smooth beginning; Murphy’s Law requires that there be a technical difficulty right in the middle of the second hymn. Though, again, as beautiful as the music is, that is not what we are here for.
Sister Parkin starts to speak and the reason we have all given up our Saturday night has arrived. We are given the opportunity to listen to the Relief Society leaders of our church. This opportunity comes once a year, and every year I am tempted to skip this meeting. Then as I sit in the dark listening to the words of the Lord for the women of his church, I am reminded why I attend. There is something peaceful in the bond that is built between the women of our church. None of us are the same, yet we are all connected by the bond of Relief Society, something I cannot articulate and even if I could I doubt the world would ever understand.
As the conference progresses my thoughts and feelings are unexplainable; they tumble through my head so fast that I cannot get them all down on paper. Some I am able to capture others I reference in my notes so that I might think on them later. One of these is the question posed by Sister Parkin; “How do you feel the Lord’s love in your life?” I would like to answer this question; if for no other reason then to remind myself.
There are so many ways I feel His love, as a matter of fact, many times a day my friends and co-workers will hear me flippantly say, “God loves me.” I do sincerely recognize how blessed I am. One of the greatest blessing the Lord has given me is my ability to find joy in small things. I live in a city which enables me to get around without a car. On a regular day, I get to walk to the metro station. This takes me about twenty-five to thirty minutes. I love the chance I get to walk in the mornings before sunrise or at night as the sun is setting; there is a feeling that is indescribable. I find His love in the beauty that surrounds me at any given time. The sky can be cloudy and a foreboding grey or it can be clear and a crystal blue. There can be rain or snow, humidity or dry air, beautiful sunshine or twinkling starlight. Regardless of weather I am reminded that this world was created for us, His children. The beauty is awe-inspiring. And as I walk I usually listen to music, it varies according to my mood. It doesn’t have to be a hymn for music to touch your heart. Bach, Beethoven, or even the National Anthem can bring a skip to my step just as quickly as a pop or country song. I have not been gifted with the talent of creating music, but I have been given the blessing of enjoying music. I consider this to be an amazing show of the Lord’s love for me. Not everyone can allow music to transport them to another place. Life is not always comfortable and to be able to find peace and solace in music is an amazing blessing.
There are many other ways that I feel the love of the Lord, but already this blog is too long and I feel too vulnerable. Suffice to say, I am blessed with a large, boisterous and complex family, a wonderful group of friends and a firm knowledge of the sacrifice of my Savior. I will be forever grateful to know that I can be encircled in the arms of His love and that He will not leave me.