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My husband and I decided some time ago that due to the Priesthood responsibilities our three oldest boys have we wanted our family to be 20-30 minutes early to church every week. We live very close to our church, so when it’s time to leave we take who is ready in the car with us and everyone else gets to walk.

This last Sunday, when it was time to go, our youngest of six children (and our only daughter) was the only one ready to go so she got to ride over to the church in 17 degree weather.  The meeting started and there the three of us sat. It was a lonely feeling for a mother who was used to being surrounded by at least three other children before Sacrament meeting begins. Even though I already knew the answer, about every 10 minutes I kept looking over to my husband and would ask, “Do you think I should go check on them?  Do you think we should call them?”  He would just shake his head and say, “We need to let them ‘fail’.”  (Fail translates into let them be late…you have NO IDEA how hard it was to leave my children behind!)

The Sacrament came and went. You can imagine how I felt when our oldest came and plopped himself right next to me 35 minutes into the meeting. 🙂 Ten minutes later another two joined us and about two minutes after that the last two finally came trailing in.

Once everyone had arrived I felt a wave of relief come over me.  Relieved that I didn’t need to worry about where they were anymore.  Relieved that they were in out of the cold.  Relieved that we were all together.  At one time I remember thinking, “Ah, together at last.” I later found out that a neighbor saw my children walking to church and gave them a ride and I think my children were very grateful…I know I was.  Grateful that I could let the lesson sink in that they needed to be prepared and that they were responsible for their own choices and grateful for the tender mercy shown on a cold, winter day.

I reflected for a few minutes on how I felt at the beginning of the meeting and how much I missed my children and how that contrasted with the joy I felt seeing all of us together.   I was happy when each child, one by one, joined us, but the feeling of absence I felt from those who had not yet arrived was undeniable and the joy I felt from all of us being together was unspeakable.  It was difficult not to notice the parallels this story offered to every day and eternal life.

But the biggest lesson for me that day was even though we might not all be traveling at the same speed, as we do our best to lead our children down correct paths, and with help we receive from people who care, we’ll all get there…eventually.

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