Sunday, September 26, 2010

Greatness

Over the course of the last two weeks my family and I were able to see and experience some pretty remarkable things.  Some things we had seen before and others we had not.  Each day as I was personally enriched by my experiences the word "greatness" kept resonating through my mind.

I saw and felt greatness as I gazed at the tombs of George and Martha Washington, I saw greatness-or the potential for greatness-in the Senate Gallery at the United States Capitol building, I felt greatness when I stood in the room where the thoughts leading to the Constitution of the United States were realized, I felt greatness as I gazed at the gravesides of James and Dolley Madison, I felt greatness when I gazed at the Washington, DC temple and watched my husband and daughter go in and return from it, I felt greatness when I gazed over DC from the Washington Monument, I felt greatness when I reverently looked over the flag that hung so bravely over Fort McHenry during the War of 1812 that Francis Scott Key saw and was inspired by, I felt greatness as I looked at the top hat of Abraham Lincoln, I felt greatness as I stood before the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery, I felt greatness as I stood in Thomas Jefferson's home and looked at his books and realized the ideas of freedom penned in the Declaration of Independence were conceived there, I saw greatness in God's creations as I watched the ocean roar over and over, and I felt greatness when I watched dolphins swim 100 feet from my children every day they played in the ocean.



The word that over and over came to mind was profound greatness.  Our country is built on great men and men, our nation is great and it is powerful, the creations of God are truly great and temple's are another sign of God's greatness.  What was interesting to me was that while I thought of the word greatness I never thought of the word greater.  While they were great I realized they were not greater than me or anyone/thing else.  They were simply filled with greatness.

At Mount Vernon I over heard a conversation with a tour guide and a visitor.  The tour guide was commenting on how brilliant and great the Founding Fathers were.   He sighed and said sadly, "Our country will never again be blessed with that kind of greatness."  The first thought that came to me was how some believe that there would never be any more revelation in the Last Days either.  With both thoughts I boldly say, "No!" We have had greatness and revelation and we will continue to have greatness and revelation.

How is greatness to be realized? What does it look like?  The first point is that all can be great.  God's plan isn't a plan of competition or of who is better.  I think that greatness is achieved as we individually fulfil our mission that we were sent here to do.  This will look different for everyone.  Some will be popular, some will be national heroes, and some will live quiet lives never going far from home but making a difference where they stand by their quiet acts of service.

Another point begs to say that we must,
"...Be steadfast and immovable, always abounding in good works, that Christ, the Lord God Omnipotent, may seal you his, that you may be brought to heaven, that ye may have everlasting salvation and eternal life, through the wisdom, and power, and justice, and mercy of him who created all things, in heaven and in earth, who is God above all." Mosiah 5:15
What was interesting was that while I was impressed with the great houses the true power and testimony of their greatness came when I came to their graves/tombs.  They had fulfilled the measure of their creation.  They had done what they were asked to do.  They had achieved greatness.

Greatness can be achieved by you and I as we seek to fulfill the measure of our creation.  As we accept the call from the Lord and from the prophet to embrace our role as mothers in Zion we will receive the best reward possible.  We will obtain greatness and be able to stand with the other great men and women of the ages who also embraced their roles.  We will not be better than them and they will not be better than us.  We will all be great.


 
Embracing the role of motherhood requires that we do without some things.  It requires that we think of others.  It requires us to be okay when we don't get our way.  It requires us to gain a testimony in Jesus Christ as our personal Savior and Redeemer so that when the world tells us that we are fools for choosing to submit to motherhood we will stand on solid ground and know we are doing the right thing.

Sister Beck said this about mothers who know,
"Rather than listening to the voices and partial truths of the world, she knows that gospel standards are based on eternal, unchangeable truths. She believes that to be “primarily responsible for the nurture of [her] children” is a vital, dignified, and “sacred responsibilit[y]” (“The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” Liahona, Oct. 1998, 24; Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102). To nurture and feed them physically is as much an honor as to nurture and feed them spiritually. She is “not weary in well-doing” and delights to serve her family, because she knows that “out of small things proceedeth that which is great” (D&C 64:33)." A Mother Heart Ensign May 2004.
Sister Beck also said,
 "Mothers who know do less. They permit less of what will not bear good fruit eternally. They allow less media in their homes, less distraction, less activity that draws their children away from their home. Mothers who know are willing to live on less and consume less of the world’s goods in order to spend more time with their children—more time eating together, more time working together, more time reading together, more time talking, laughing, singing, and exemplifying. These mothers choose carefully and do not try to choose it all. Their goal is to prepare a rising generation of children who will take the gospel of Jesus Christ into the entire world. Their goal is to prepare future fathers and mothers who will be builders of the Lord’s kingdom for the next 50 years. That is influence; that is power." Mothers Who Know, Ensign November 2007.

As I think about the things I felt with my family back east and as I think about the words of Sister Beck last night at our Relief Society Meeting  I feel empowered to continue to claim that greatness through fulfilling my great role of wife and mother in Zion.  The glories of the world and flatteries from the large and spacious building will pass quickly and soon I can stand with my family crowned with eternal happiness and peace.  I can smile at Eve, Sarah, Hannah, Mary, Sariah, Emma, Lucy, Martha, Abigail, Dolley,.... and I can know that choosing God's plan for women was the path to take.

8 comments:

Kassie said...

What a wonderful vacation/adventure for your family. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. You have a wonderful way of putting your point across. Don't you just love Sis. Beck? I sniffed my way through all the talks at the RS meeting last night.

Celeste B. said...

What an awesome trip! I'm glad that your family was able to see all those sites and contemplate the meaning of greatness! I also find it sad that so many people think that this nations greatness is over. I don't think it is...not by a long shot! with every challenge comes a shift, with new people coming to the surface to extend their greatness into the world.

Ranee said...

I too, still have faith in our great country. I know that my children are part of the greatness that is to come! This is a great charge and responsibility on the part of my husband and myself. I am humbled and honored to have to opportunity to shape them, and to inspire them to greatness! What a wonderful trip you had! Thank you for sharing some of it with us! :0)

Judi said...

I love that quote by Sister Beck. It always confirms my desire to keep my kids home. I know we are doing the right thing.

What a wonderful trip! I grew up in Massachusetts and our temple was D.C. but I never had the opportunity to travel to see the sites in and around D.C. We hope to as a family someday. Ben and I were married in the D.C. temple 15 years ago. I love that temple.

Karen said...

I'm trying to do less and less and still I'm having a hard time doing those things that I think are so important. How do families do it when they haven't cut out all the extra? Maybe I'm just extra slow and will catch up someday and figure it out. Maybe there's more "extra" in there that I'm not seeing.

Mrs.Smith said...

Thank you for a wonderful post. I love it.

I truly hope to be able to do a similar trip with our family when the kids are a bit older.

Rebecca said...

Your trip looks great. I appreciate the reminder of the greatness that can happen in our own homes and families as we embrace our own purpose/mission/opportunities. And the reminder that we don't need to compete with anyone else around us. Do our own job and do it well. It's nice to know God knows me and is helping me to do the job he gave me.

Cassandra said...

What a cool trip!

It's a depressing thought that "there will never again be greatness." Why not? We just have to hold ourselves to higher standards. God calls us to greatness. :)