As long as I can remember, I’ve loved my dad and been so proud to be his daughter.
The longer I live, the more I feel this way.
And the more I learn from this kind, intelligent man I’m blessed to call Dad. He’s shown me unconditional live, had faith in me when I was a difficult teenager and sometimes lost faith in myself, and he’s a great example of optimism and hard work.
When I was young, I remember he had this quotation on a small card:
“To live greatly, face trouble with courage, disappointment with cheerfulness, and triumph with humility.”
~Thomas S. Monson~
This is actually how he lives his life; that’s what makes it so inspiring to me. You won’t be surprised to learn that those words have spent plenty of time posted on a small recipe card in my home since I’ve been a grown woman with walls of my own to fill.
From my dad I’ve learned to ride a horse, treat everyone I meet with humanity, build a fence, read and enjoy good literature, value loyalty, understand history, and to study and share my faith. No matter what life throws at him, he keeps calm and carries on.
He’s the one I call when I need to comprehend the backstory to what I read in the news; he’s very well-informed. He’s the one I called on the phone one night many years ago from my bedroom in England when I was frozen with fear over a scuffling sound I heard in the old chimney. (To his credit, he helped me feel a bit better before pointing out patiently that there wasn’t much he could actually do for me from Canada. That was ok; by then I felt better. Also, it wasn’t a mouse after all.)
Best of all, because of him, it’s never been hard for me to believe and trust in a kind and loving Heavenly Father who cares about me and always wants to help, forgive, and bless me.
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” ~Martin Luther King Jr.
Racism is sickening. It breaks my heart, and it always has. I’m a white woman who’s grown up and lived most of my life in western Canada, and I’ve never experienced it myself. I believe this makes me very accountable to speak up with and for those who live with it every day.
“For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required.” ~Luke 12:48~ (Bible)
People who are entrusted with upholding peace and justice need to be held accountable for violence and crime as much as anyone else does. This seems so obvious that it feels almost ironic to even have to state it, but clearly, it needs to be said. Loud and clear, by all of us who have a voice. Over and over again, until real, lasting change is seen and felt.
I know God our Heavenly Father loves all of His children; all of us. Every race, age, and sex, without regard for wealth or status. We are His children. So He loves us.
“…he inviteth all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white… male and female… and all are alike unto God.” ~2 Nephi 26:33 (Book of Mormon)
And He asks us all to love each other. I’m a mother, so I know that nothing could be more painful than to see my children who may be in a stronger position hurting -or not helping- my children who may be in a weaker position. It literally turns my stomach and breaks my heart. He must feel the same; sickened and saddened.
Just in case there’s anyone out there who’s missed the memo, being a true Christian and being a racist are mutually exclusive.
Here’s my lovely momma getting some kisses from me and one of my three younger sisters, when we were together at the Calgary Temple one day a few years ago. Isn’t she adorable?
She has more energy than most people I know. She works harder than most of us. And she has a great sense of humour. She cooks, gardens, and organizes like a queen. She’s super smart, endlessly generous, and amazingly fun with little children. She’s educated, and smart; and she loves animals.
Her faith has informed and inspired my own, and if that’s all she ever did for me or gave to me, it would be enough.
But that’s not all. She cares so much for me, and for my family. She’s forgiving and nothing can take her down for long. Her life hasn’t been an easy one; I wouldn’t want to trade. But mine has been sweeter and more gentle and beautiful because of her, turning herself inside out time after time after time to create for us something better than what she started with. I feel like I’m standing on the shoulders of giants in my own life, and she’s definitely one of them.
Do you know how encouraging her example it to me? I believe I can do hard things.
This is how I feel about Jesus Christ. Like he loves me, and I can trust him to always care for me. I’ve felt his love too many times, in too many ways, to ever doubt it. And I love him with all my heart. I feel safe and secure in his amazing love; he knows me better than I know myself, sees all my flaws, and only wants to help me. I am grateful for many blessings, every day, but he is everything to me.
“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”
I can’t imagine my life without him in it, and thankfully, I’ll never have to experience that. Because no matter what life throws at me, I can always count on Jesus to be with me, as long as I’ll be with him. This changes everything, in the best possible ways.
“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come…. Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” ~Bible, New Testament, Romans 8:38-39~
The most beautiful thing about all of this is that it’s just as true for everyone else as it is for me. He loves us all with a pure and perfect love. He fills me to overflowing with the feeling of it, and it changes me; I want to share it with everyone I can. I try.