Sunday, August 11, 2013

the little things

last summer, Glen Echo Park, Md.

Today a new bishopric was called in our ward. The new bishop had served as a counselor to my dad back in 2001. My dad had once observed that this man's daughters, he has five of them, were a decade younger than we were. Jessie pointed out that it was a decade ago that our dad was being called as the bishop and we were the college kids traipsing down the hall to his setting apart.

My dad no longer attends church meetings. This change took place suddenly. Two weeks ago he just didn't go. Maybe he will go again, but this Sunday Brigham and Matt administered the sacrament at my parents' house. Dad choked on the water.

I do not think it is bragging to note that many of my dad's finest qualities shone through during his service as a bishop, and so the reorganization of our ward has me thinking about some of his qualities that I would like to develop in myself and cultivate in my kids. Above all else, my dad was reliable. He did what he said he would do. Furthermore, he did what ought to be done. This kind of common sense competence is in surprisingly short supply, even among otherwise very respected and successful people. But my dad possessed it. I am not entirely sure how to develop this quality, but I thought there were some things I could do to otherwise follow his example.

1) Sending people notes of thanks or friendliness. He bought cards en mass at thrift stores--he was as cheap as he was a diligent pen pal to all.

2) Be on time to things. I am a terrible offender of punctuality, but I am going to make every effort to be better.

This list could go on forever but I won't be able to stick to a thousand goals, so these are my two for now. They are difficult enough for me as I seriously do not know the current price of a stamp.

Our new Bishop gave a nice talk and quoted a this scripture:
Wherefore be not weary in well doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great. Behold the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind, and the willing and obedient shall eat the good of the land of Zion in these last days.
I know that these verses are talking about missionary work and establishing the Church, but I think it is true more generally, too. We are all engaged in the great work of transforming ourselves. This is true whether we believe it or not, whether we try or not. We are forming who we are every day with all of our choices, and we can do so much to direct that formation in the very little daily decisions. My great work is turning myself, through the grace of the Lord, into His disciple, and of guiding my own little family in that same path. The overarching guiding principle is love, and the various instrumentalities are invariably small ones. It will be okay that I won't always do the right things in the right spirit, but if I can only just get into the habit of doing the right things, I hope to also create the habit of having the right spirit, and I can finally get these spiral situations to turn upwards instead of down. And my own Zion will simply be a state of grateful happiness of feelings the love of Christ. I will leave out all that business of eating the good of the land for Will's sake so as not to spoil the mood for him.


Alisha said...

Oh Alexandra. My heart goes out to you. My offer still stands to take photos for you (check your email for Aug 5) if you would like. I love that you are writing down so many great memories. You and your children will cherish them always.

Monica Rich said...

"They are difficult enough for me as I seriously do not know the current price of a stamp." Love this. Love reading your blog. We need to make legitimate plans to reunite.