Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Pure Happiness and Joy

There is a story in the Book of Mormon that has held an extra special place in my heart and I have found myself pondering on one verse in particular trying to imagine that kind of joy.

My story begins when five friends decide to set out and teach the gospel to their life long enemies who hated them with an immense passion.  You see, they were "sinners of the most vile."  But thanks to the Atonement and coming to know their Lord and Savior they turned their lives over to him and started trying to undo all that they had done. And because of their deep love and gratitude for their Lord and Savior they had an intense love for all their fellow men and "could not bear the thought of any being cast out."

So, they began their journey leaving the safety of their home and crossing over into enemy lines.
Three brothers were cast into prison, starved, beaten and mocked.
One became a servant to the King and they became life long friends
 like David and Jonathan in the Old Testament.
Their friend was teaching in another area.

I will now pick up the part of the story where these four brothers and their friend once again meet after not seeing each other for14 years:

"And now it came to pass that as Alma was journeying from the land of Gideon southward, 
away to the land of Manti, behold to his astonishment, 
he met with the sons of Mosiah journeying towards the land of Zarahemia...
therefore Alma did rejoice exceedingly to see his brethren: 
and what added more to his joy, they were still his brethren in the Lord; 
yea and they had waxed strong in the knowledge of the truth; 
for they were men of a sound understanding and they had searched the scriptures diligently, 
that they might know the word of God.  
But this is not all; they had given themselves to much prayer and fasting; 
therefore they had the spirit of prophecy, and the spirit of revelation, 
and when they taught, they taught with power and authority of God."
(Alma 17:1-3)

A couple of Sundays ago I was attending my beloved Burley ward.
I wanted to say farewell to my new found Ward brothers and sisters who have been so inspirational to me.
As I was sitting in Relief Society a woman came and sat down besides me.  
She immediately offered her hand and introduced herself to me.
As I was shaking her hand a joy started welling up inside me.
We were listening to the prelude music and I could hear her softly humming along and
I had this feeling come over me which I cannot even begin to describe;
 her humming was so familiar to me and warmed my heart.

The opening song was about to begin and she opened the hymn book to share with me.
Again this familiar memory was engulfing me and as we started to sing, her in her beautiful soprano and me in my wanna be soprano alto mix began singing together.  
My heart was pounding and this overwhelming joy started coursing through me.
A Michael McClean verse started running through my mind, "which part is mine and which part is yours."

We laughed together, we smiled we shared so much in a brief moment.
As the meeting closed I was able to share my love and admiration with those special sisters and how they had touched my life and as I was sharing I looked down at my friend and noticed she had her glasses on upside down which I blurted out spontaneously.  

My friend was so radiant.
At that moment it was just her and me in the room.  
My heart was pounding with joy and excitement that her and I had met again.

I apologized to the other sisters but they were touched by what they were witnessing.
At the end of the meeting my friend offered her hand and told me "don't be a stranger come see us anytime."
As I watched her walk away the verse in Alma started running through my mind, 

"Alma did rejoice exceedingly to see his brethren; 
and what added more to his joy,
they were still his brethren in the Lord..."

A great peace filled my heart as I came to realize that I had just experienced that joy and what added more to my joy was she was still my sister in the Lord and she was a woman of sound understanding..."

I had not met her til that Sunday but I knew her!!!  
I knew her in our Heavenly home and there is no doubt in my mind that we shared there just like we had that Sunday in that Relief Society meeting.

I believe that one day when the Veil is lifted from our minds and we are reunited in our Heavenly home we shall experience another great joy:

"And it came to pass that as Ammon was going forth into the land, that he and his brethren met Alma, 
over in the place of which has been spoken; and behold this was a joyful meeting.
Now the joy of Ammon was so great even that he was full; 
yea he was swallowed up in the joy of his God, 
even to the exhausting of his strength; 
and he fell again to the earth.
Now behold was not this exceeding joy?
Behold, this is joy which non receiveth save it be the truly penitent and humble seeker of happiness
Now the joy of Alma in meeting his brethren was truly great, 
and also the joy of Aaron, of Omner, and Himmi; 
but behold their joy was not that to exceed their strength."
(Alma 27:17-19)

I got a taste of that joy when my mom and poppers were called home.
A joy that is so pure it consumes ones being.

I wish I were more like Ammon and could experience that joy in this life but alas I'm a hard headed child that continues to fall short but I am so grateful for those moments in my life where I have tasted that exceeding great joy.

As for my friend, when our paths cross again we shall just pick up right where we left off.
Upside down glasses and all.

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