Monday, April 13, 2009


President Hinckley compared life to a journey on an old time railroad car. He suggested we were going to be disappointed if we expected the whole trip to be composed of wonderful experiences and lovely scenery. He spoke of the bumps, the jarring starts and stops, cinders and soot with only an occasional breath-taking vista. He concluded with “the trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride.” Easter weekend turned out for me to be one of those “grand vistas,” an occasion to thank the Lord for allowing me the ride.

To begin with my younger brother and his wife came down from Idaho to spend the weekend with us. They arrived Friday and we had a good time just talking and going out to dinner together. Saturday became more involved with shopping and visiting places they wanted to see. Since it was close to one of the places we intended to go, we stopped at the IFA store and saw all the baby chicks, goslings, ducklings, turkeys, bunnies, and two kids (baby goats). I’m opposed to giving kids live animals as Easter gifts, but IFA is a farm store and most of their baby animals are headed for rural homes where they belong. Since all four of us were raised on farms, it was a fun reminder of our childhood springs.

After purchasing items at various far flung stores, we headed back to my home where two of my daughters and their small children met us for Easter egg coloring. The three-year-old is a little accident prone, so his mom took precautions to make certain which dyes and colors he used. Of course, he was the only one that didn’t spill anything. Three spills in a row had blue and green dye sinking into my chairs, splattering the walls, and spreading across my floor. The grandson with the yellow dye managed to contain his spill to the tray holding the various brush-on paints and glitter. My nine-year-old granddaughter who is so careful and very artistic was in tears and her white shirt splotched in blue, the egg she was holding splashed in multiple unintended colors. While I cleaned up my granddaughter and found her something dry to wear, my daughters tackled cleaning up my kitchen. They did a good job, but I suspect I’ll be finding remnants of blue paint in unexpected places for some time. By the time the eggs were finished and the mess cleaned up, it was too late for anything but hotdogs for dinner. The spilled coloring dye might be related to cinders and soot, but there was something lovely, one of those scenic vistas, in seeing seeing the competent, non-judgmental way my daughters dealt with their children’s disasters and their concern for making certain I wasn’t the one left to shampoo my chairs or mop the floor.

Being avid Jazz fans we were looking forward to the game, but it was another disaster. It was after the game that we were treated to one of those vista moments. The lights came on at the nearly completed Oquirrh Mountain Temple and from our upstairs rooms we were able to show my brother and sister-in-law the sparkling city lights high lighted by the sight of three temples framed in one bedroom window.

One of my sons-in-law makes wonderful omelets. He volunteered to come over Sunday morning to make omelets and I prepared a German coffee cake, starting off Easter morning on a pleasant note. Sacrament meeting was one of those Easter services filled with music and messages that was so perfect it brought tears to our eyes. Even the noisiest children (and we have lots of those in our ward) were reverent and the choir was at its best which says a lot for a choir that I’m sure already ranks as one of the best in the Church, and a pair of talented thirteen-year-olds sang a beautiful duet.

On returning home all five of our children, their spouses, and our ten grandchildren arrived for dinner and an egg hunt. Being all together, sharing too much food, lots of laughter and stories, watching the older children hide the eggs, then the younger ones hunt for them put a satisfying cap on the day.

After all of our children and their families left, the four of us who remained experienced one of those tired, but peaceful times of reflection. Together over the past few years we’ve faced some of life’s painful tragedies, deaths of loved ones, serious illnesses, worries, and difficulties, but the fun moments, the nostalgic moments, the small disasters, the loving gestures, and the intense spiritual warmth of this weekend filled us with assurance that the Lord loves us and He gives us just enough experiences like this weekend to keep us searching for just such “grand vistas” and to remind us to thank Him for letting us have this ride we call life.

The current contest ends in two days. For an additional entry or a new one. Tell me about a time when you've seen beyond the bumps and cinders to a beautiful vista.


Taffy said...

I'm learning in my life not to stress about the bumps and cinders. Every time I worry, it works out the way it was suppose to so I wasted lots of time in meaningless worry when I should be looking on the vistas.

Nancy Campbell Allen said...

What a wonderful Easter, Jennie. I love it when everyone's together and it's crazy and fun.

Thanks for sharing. :-)

Amy Btw M said...

A little over four years ago, my car was stolen and totaled in a off-road police chase. It was right before my first baby was to be born, and I was pretty sad to lose my car. The miraculous thing was having the insurance money from my car allowed us to pay our hospital and ambulance bills from a somewhat hectic birth experience. I just was so grateful to the Lord for taking care of us. Sure, I had to go without a car for a few years, but we were fortunate to be in a place where we could survive on one family vehicle.

Even now I still miss my little car, but I am very happy to think that I didn't have to go through those years stressed over paying back those debts. I also have my beautiful little boy, and that is something else to be grateful about.

An AZ Girl in TX said...

Hmmm... I guess it's a matter of perspective really.
To others my "life" is not one with many opportunities to see a "beautiful vista" and they've told me so - the reason being my 3 year old son has been diagnosed with developmental delays and is one the autism spectrum.
However, I don’t see it that way. It’s true I may have a harder time with him than they do or did with their children, but I get to see things that they never will. I see him differently than they do. To me he is not a problem and uncontrollable, he is a very special little boy who wants to be understood and would love to tell you all about the world; he’s just slower in doing it and sometimes communicates differently than you would expect.
There are incredible vistas to be seen in so many different situations and aspects of life if you are looking for them!