At a dinner in the canyon last Thursday night with my husband's family, it began to rain, so a few of us adults gathered under some trees and talked and laughed and told jokes and stories and waited out the inclement weather.
The next evening, at another reunion with my side of the family, the wind picked up after dinner and the children, some in pajamas, ran around tossing Frisbees, eating round tortilla chips, climbing on the rocks while the adults milled around, talking and chatting about nothing in particular, moving from group to group as people went in for their sweaters, then returned. We were all making memories in the stiff canyon breezes that presaged that night's thunderstorms. When those storms finally arrived in the early morning, my husband and I, fit together like spoons under the quilt, watched the lightning through our window and listened to the rolling thunder until we fell back asleep.
I love all my family--aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews, in-laws, grandchildren and so on--in an easy way, yet with an intensity that can sometimes catch me unawares. I know that earthly relationships can fray, fracture and break. I could drop a grandchild in a fall--would the daughter or daughter-in-law ever forgive me? I could say a harsh word when tired, offend someone. I could move far away and lose touch, or might not return a phone call or answer a letter. I could be human.
In our religion, getting married--not just in a church, but in the temple where we are sealed together for eternity--was always put out as One of the Goals--a hoop to jump through, an act of obedience. However, as I have aged, I have come to see the promises and covenants made in the temple with a new perspective. We mortals are so frail in our relationships. Father in Heaven says go forward in faith and love and give it all a try and risk and take care of each other, because if you are sealed together, it's a guarantee that you'll see each other again--even after anger, after sorrow and misunderstanding, after death. Temple sealings are evidence of the Lord's complete and enduring compassion for his children.
With my husband Dave traveling on the other side of the world, I can all too easily slide into fear or worry. There are other reminders of mortality as well, some as innocuous as declining vision, reminding me that we all are moving toward some sort of painful separation from each other. Once I asked my mother what she would do if Dad died. "Why, it's the unthinkable," she said. I don't spend every day with a long face, moping around, anticipating the worst. But I am aware that I'm in a personal golden age that could quickly crumble into a hollow. In order to press forward I remember that because His love, we are sealed.
Because of His love, we are family.