Tuesday, November 1, 2011

For the Love Which From Our Birth

Last week a sweet little niece was born to our family. A series of unexpected events put me driving to Provo to drop off a change of clothes for my brother. He arrived at the hospital in his hunting gear and worried they wouldn't let him in the room with his wife. As I drove, I could hardly contain my excitement. A new baby was coming to our family. For a moment I wondered why I was getting so excited, but I couldn't help it. I already loved this little girl even though I hadn't seen her. I couldn't wait to be her aunt.

As I drove, I had an impression of another joyful group of people who were also waiting for the moment that this little girl would come into the world. These people, friends and family who have passed on already, were so happy to see her starting her life. They were celebrating too.

Later, as I watched my father and mother take their new granddaughter in their arms, I couldn't help but remember a story they used to tell me.

My grandfather used to work at the temple. The day my brother was born, a note was passed to him announcing the birth. Tears filled his eyes and he joyfully shared the news to the other temple workers. They congratulated him, one of them asking, "Is this your first grandson?"

"No," My grandfather replied. "He's my eighteenth grandson."

My father is the youngest in his family. By the time my siblings and I came into the world, we had about thirty cousins, and that was just on his side of the family. My grandparents rejoiced in every one of our lives.

My grandparents passed away when I was eleven. Today is the anniversary of my grandmother's death. As I was listening to "For the Beauty of the Earth" I couldn't help but think of family and of the love that truly "from our birth, over and around us lies." I have always loved my cousins. I was quite a bit younger than most of them, so when they talked to me and noticed me I was always thrilled. Being with my extended family helped me get to know my grandparents even after they were gone. The stories they told, and the love they showed filled me with memories of my own. They reflected to me the love that my grandparents where no longer there to give.

That love doesn't go away. Even now, I can't really express how much I love my family. The funny thing is that it doesn't matter what happens, or how much time passes. I still look for them at family reunions. I still get excited when see them in an unexpected place. It's like I'm still that little girl who saw them all as heroes. I can't help it. Their love has been over and around me since my birth.

I hope someday, my new little niece will know that she too has been welcomed into this world by many loving faces, all who are joyfully celebrating her life.

"For the joy of human love,
Brother, sister, parent, child,
Friends on earth and friend above,
For all gentle thoughts and mild,
Lord of all to Thee we raise,
This our hymn of grateful praise."

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