Luke 2:19 - "But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart."
I can relate to Mary. My mind has been one of deep reflection and pondering over the past few months, especially over the past weeks since the illness and passing of my faithful, strong, indescribably wonderful Grandfather. My father was blessed enough to receive all of my grandfather's books at his passing. I was blessed enough to receive a copy of my grandfather's autobiography... which is a complete gem and basically scripture to me. Let me struggle through this, because it is completely and surely impossible for me to even try to describe how I feel.
As the sun rose this morning I laid down with that precious book my grandpa wrote as I left my current existence and joined his. Every sentence, every story, every event in his life was... guided. And took him on a path exactly where he was meant to go. Every occasion that brought him the slightest bit of pain or hardship hurts my heart more than I can bear. But I know these events molded him into the unbreakable stone of a man he is.
When he was eleven years old, his older brother was beginning to attend priesthood meetings. Grandpa was not yet old enough but the bishop understood his need for the male companionship and so he allowed him to come along. Grandpa says, "I started to attend priesthood meetings early and still remember some of the lessons given at those meetings, one in particular on "The Fraternalism of the Priesthood." It had a profound impact on me as I contemplated then and even now as I think of the brotherhood of the priesthood."
This gives us even a tiny glimpse of the man my grandfather was even at eleven years old. The stories are endless. He has so many accounts of faithfulness and obedience in his life that have led to miracles where the Lord was able to extend His hand in my grandfather's life.
My grandfather was faithful. He was a rock of obedience and righteousness. He understood where happiness was found and what was truly mattered in life. He put the Gospel and his family above all else. As I eagerly read from page to page I was so excited for the parts about my father. My dear dad has such an unbelievably special place in my heart, and I know I do in his too. It was wonderful to read my grandfather's words about my father. "He has always been strong in body and spirit." It is clear to me that my father had a special place in his father's heart. And I feel that special love from my grandpa passed on to me (as I am sure every grandchild does).
As I read about my heritage and see how every little event leads to the next, how my grandfather's character was built little by little, but steadily, I have realized where I fit in. My father was a joy to his father. My father grew up at the feet of this noble and strong patriarch, seeing first hand his hard work and faithfulness to the Gospel. And this has shaped my father into the man he is today, who is also faithful and "strong in body and spirit." Somehow I am blessed enough to be his daughter, who was raised by the most loving and diligent parents, who taught me and raised me up in righteousness from the moment I was placed in their loving arms. It is my responsibility to carry on this tradition and honor the heritage of my fathers. I do have great responsibility because of what I know and all I am blessed with. I have these righteous men and women to look to and learn from and I would be shaming their name if I did not live the kind of life that they have and that would bring them pride in what I have done with their name.
I want to honor my grandfather. I will live my life always remembering the life he lived and all he sacrified to give my father a better life, who sacrified to give me a better life. How I deserve it I do not know. But I will spend my days trying to deserve it and trying to live faithfully to keep us sealed together and safe in our covenants.
The feelings I feel I can not quite describe, but I feel them. I am changed because of this. My heart is truly turned to my fathers.