Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Our Heavenly Family

I've tried to formulate this post in my mind for days. I don't seem to be able to do it justice.

I taught Relief Society on Sunday. Lesson #2 in Gospel Priniciples, "Our Heavenly Family."
Two events from the last week colored my perception of this concept: Haiti and a funeral.

A family in our ward lost their oldest child, an adopted son, two weeks ago in a tragic confrontation. Tormented much of his life by addiction and feelings of insecurity, B nevertheless left a mark on this world--he was the most gifted musician I've ever heard. Because he was a professional musician, all of the music at the service was B: singing a little, but always playing the piano. And that music . . . touched me.

On Saturday, before we left for the funeral, I received an email. Dr. P, Micah's friend and "cast doctor," was preparing to leave for Haiti, and the crew were looking for donations. What made this mission of mercy personal to me wasn't just knowing Dr. P. You see, twenty years ago, before he was Dr. P, he was Elder P. And he had faithfully served the people of Haiti for two years. And that . . . touched me.

The point of the Relief Society lesson was to remind us that God is our Father, and that He knows us and our talents and our abilities perfectly and intimately. That He has placed us here on earth, not only for our personal growth, but to affect change in others as well.

At the funeral, B's dad stated that he was doing fairly well, until he'd hear the music. He told stories of lessons and challenges, but this stayed with me. In counseling with a "wise bishop," Dad asked, "Why was B placed in our lives (since he was adopted at 8 months)? Was it for us to affect him or for him to affect us?" Now, at the conclusion of B's life, Dad was able to honestly say that it had gone both ways. And to see how many lives he had changed and influenced with his music was amazing. Not just his music, but his ability to see people how they were and accept them--his gift of being a friend.

Dr. P's wife has been forwarding messages from the Haitian relief team to those of us here who are following their efforts. Miraculously, the team made it to Leogane, the barely accessible epicenter of the quake, and the town where Dr. P had served as Branch President during his mission. Despite inspiring and heartbreaking tales of medical assistance, this is the comment that will always stay with me: "I'm where I'm supposed to be. This is why I went to medical school."

Heavenly Father knows us. We are where we are for a reason. We affect and change the lives of those around us. Some, like Dr. P, are lucky enough to know the "why" in this life--why he served in Haiti, why he learned to love those people in Leogane--one of the many reasons why he became a doctor. Others, like B, will never know the difference they made, until they view the outcome of their lives from the other side of the veil. But that lack of validation here on earth doesn't make our responsibilities any different or any less.

YAM #6--Our existence has purpose and direction. If we follow the Spirit, no matter how difficult the road or where that road takes us, we will make a difference. You don't need to be the star or the doctor or the president. You just need to use the talents you were born with--the talents you had premortally. I know you can do it. And so does He.

Thank you for touching my life with yours.


  1. That was a "goose bumps" post, Jen. Everything you said was so right-on that it gave me a physical response. Or maybe I should say a spiritual one.

    Yep, I recognize truth when I read it...



    PS. And, oh, the lovely way you said it!

  2. Thanks for this post Jenny. This point became so clear for me as my parents embarked on their mission. They weren't planning on leaving on a mission this soon but a wise Stake President encouraged them to listen to the Spirit because he thought they needed to prepare to leave. So they did that. They prayed about it and decided to put their papers in almost a full year before they had planned. Once they got their call my dad started studying his Samoan diligently. Shortly before they left, the tsunami hit Samoa. Just a few days after their arrival there the area presidency asked my parents to go to American Samoa to help the member families there who were now homeless. They said they needed someone who spoke Samoan and could navigate a legal nightmare to help the people get their FEMA aid. My dad was the perfect person for that job and had just arrived in the country.

    It is amazing to see the Lord's hand in caring for His children. From my dad serving his mission in Samoa almost 40 years ago, to becoming a lawyer, to being willing to leave earlier than they had planned, it is obvious to me that the Lord knew the people of Samoa would need my parents at this time. This is only one of many amazing things that has happened since they left. I know we're surrounded by miracles but isn't it great when we get a chance to actually witness and acknowledge them?!

  3. Aren't we blessed to have a loving Heavenly Father who planned it all out for us and if we but trust in Him and do what he suggests we will find peace and joy.


  4. Amazing post, beautifully written. Thanks for the reminder, it's always good to get that. Still sad I had to miss B's funeral, but glad to hear it all went so well.

  5. Thank you. I needed to hear these words today.

  6. There is such sadness in this world and sometimes I wish we could "see" from the other side, so that we could understand better. Thank you for sharing this post.

  7. and I don't know why I wandered on it here today, but I"m sure it was because of this beautiful message. I have been inspired . . .