Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Best Halloween Treat Ever!

Tonight I attended a special Military fireside (event) wherein President Dieter F. Uchtdorf was the keynote speaker. This was an absolute amazing treat for me.

You see, in April 2010 at the Priesthood session of the Annual General Conference for the Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS), President Uchtdorf gave a talk called “Continue In Patience” that has meant a great deal to me. 

Though I was not in attendance at that particular event, I was able to later listen to the audio recording. 

This talk is so powerful that I’ve been compelled to listen to it almost every day - either driving to or from work ever since I purchased the recording in June 2010. 

Much peace and good sound advice is shared in that talk and oddly enough, it all boils down to how we consume marshmallows (insert chuckle here).
Tonight, I went through great efforts to make it to this Military event. Several obstacles ended up in my way. The biggest issue was fatigue. 

The day after my MS treatments often leaves me... lacking in energy. When I finally made it to the event location (five minutes prior to it's start), I was disheartened to see that cars lined the road several blocks back. 

I sighed and kept moving forward in the vehicle hoping for a miracle. I neared the parking lot and was stopped by an attendant who informed me that one spot in the actual parking lot would be opened and I could have it. 

It was being used for the shuttle that was bringing people to and fro. There was so much relief in my heart that I wouldn’t have to walk a great distance, because I didn’t have it in me. 

I got into the event to see that it was PACKED, but because I was alone I could squeeze into one spot not too far from the entrance and I was guided by an escort right to the spot. Whew! I made it.
Prior to beginning I was able to take a quick look around and behind me to take-in a sea of military uniforms and their civilian counterparts. 

It was an overwhelming and an awe-inspiring sight. Then the opening hymn of High On The Mountain Top began and I could hardly keep the tears back; there was so much gusto from all the male voices around me, it was amazing. Apparently, the event was being broadcast live to soldiers in Iraq (it was three-thirty in the morning their time); also a very humbling site.

Many wonderful things happened at this event and powerful words were shared; just as amazing as Uchtdorf’s talk on patience - but today, my take home message was wrapped up in these key points:
  • Support courage to do what is right.
  • Advance independent thinking.
  • For our own sake, we need to be faithful and diligent in keeping the commandments of the Lord.
  • This life is a time to learn to overcome challenges.
  • Things of great worth are never “easy”.
  • We can’t banish trials, but we can banish fear.
  • God will not leave us comfortless.
We closed the meeting with the congregation singing, Onward Christian Soldiers and I simply couldn’t get through the song. I was too overcome by the beautiful choir all around me. These Christian soldiers and their families, pressing onward, united and joyful. I was honored to be in their presence tonight.
After the close of the meeting there seemed to be a pathway that opened up, especially for me - just like parking the car and finding a seat, I next found myself in front of President Uchtdorf and his beautiful wife Harriet. 

I was able to shake their hands and in a rare moment President Uchtdorf paused long enough for me to get the words out that I listen to his talk on patience daily and that I was compelled to let him know I’ve not eaten my marshmallow yet (a reference to the main point of his April 2010 address). He chuckled and embraced me with a very warm and strong hug that my soul needed.
I will never forget this night, or the gratitude I feel in my heart. Despite the challenges, I’m so blessed to be in the military world. 

It has all been worth it, simply to hear my fellow military families and service members singing the way they did tonight. God bless you (us) all.

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