There was a beautiful and fascinating tree near the Bob White Covered Bridge. It is the far center tree in the photo below.
It stood tall and regally among the other trees. The trunk was rather straight and its branches were laden with leaves of exquisite fall colors. The thing that made it stand out to me was its roots. Its roots were exposed to the elements, wrapped around rocks and dug deep into the earth below. This tree did not waver. It was sure footed even amid the less than ideal circumstances of its location. Those roots held it steady, strong and still.
Those roots reminded me of the scripture in Doctrine & Covenants 123:17.
"Therefore, dearly beloved brethern [and sisters], let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed."
We may also stand tall and regally among the children of God. With our soul's straight and focused while laden with our exquisite talents and virtues. Though we may be exposed to trials, heartbreaks, and struggles of mortality we can wrap ourselves firmly around Christ, the rock of our salvation, and dig deep. We need not waver. We can also be sure footed amid the less than ideal circumstances in each of our lives.
May we each be steady, strong and still.
I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge some people I feel have exemplified D&C 123:17. They each "cheerfully do all things that lie in [their] power" and embody the virtue of standing still.
1. My dad, Matt, is an exemplary man who has sacrificed so much for his family. He has worked as a carpet installer for more than 36 years creating masterpieces in other people's homes in order to provide for his wife and four children. This job may not be the career of his dreams or glorious yet he has done it without compliant or negativity because he determined to be happy years ago. He lights up any room he enters and is sunshine in my life. My dad is successful, talented and the hardest working man I have ever known. He has always given all of himself cheerfully to anyone in need.
2. My dear friend, Kim, is just a gem. She serves others as a teacher and cares for her darling family joyfully without expectation of anything in return. She loves others generously and creates a realm of sweetness around herself. She has taught me that life without laughter and smiles would truly be empty and shallow. This scripture is one of her favorites.
3. My childhood best friend, Christina, is long-suffering and kind. She is patient and weathers the storms of life with her eye focused on the Lord. She brightens the day of so many while relying on and strengthening her own faith. Having known her my entire life, I can never recall a time when I heard her murmur or complain. She is a choice woman.
4. My incredible friend, Buck, truly encompassed the meaning of this scripture on a daily basis. It will have been 7 years since he tragically passed away on January 18, 2006. He died at the age of 26 leaving behind his lovely wife and two darling sons. Buck was the most infectious person I have ever known. He was full of life, laughter, and always in pursuit of quality fun. He was a great man. Buck chose to be cheerful, kind and considerate toward everyone he met and in all circumstances in life. He even exemplifies "cheerfully [doing] all things that lie in our power" in his favorite quote.
"The most evident token and apparent sign of true wisdom is constant and unconstrained rejoicing." Michel de Montaigne
5. My distant friend, Lisa, emanates grace the likes of which I have never beheld before. Her darling, cheeky 10 year old son, Noah, passed away October 2011 and then her beloved, fun-loving husband, Aaron, suddenly died in January 2012. Even in the midst of all this sadness she still inspires and enriches the lives of so many individuals around the world through her lovely family blog, The Kings. She talks of family, love, healing and faith regularly. She has never sought for the attention, but her example has uplifted and taught me in more ways than she will ever understand. She is truly an elect lady (D&C 25) and a chosen handmaiden of the Lord.
These men and women inspire me to be better and to make more of an effort to "cheerfully do all things that lie in our power" so I may fill the measure of my creation. It has been a very difficult year and I am resolved to do better at cheerfully doing all things in my power to brighten my life and the lives of my sweet children. Thank you for the beautiful examples of lives well lived!