The first thing I want to say could be offensive, but it isn't meant to be.
I never wanted to live in Utah.
I was okay with stopping there for a few years for college, but I never envisioned myself actually living there.
I mean, here.
I live in Utah, and I am so glad that I do.
Because I live here, I was able to take my children to pay our respects to a very important man in our lives, President Gordon B. Hinckley.
We waited a long time, and the kids got a little antsy, but it was well worth it.
I saw a man who wore himself out in the service of the Lord. And it seemed to be a privilege, not a sacrifice, for him to do so. It reminded me of the handcart pioneers who wouldn't have traded their sufferings for anything because they truly came to know their God through those heart-wrenching trials.
But an unexpected blessing came immediately after. I was approached by a very nice woman (who I recognized as one of Pres. Hinckley's daughters) who walked straight toward me and thanked me for coming to the viewing. All I could do was dissolve into my tears and try to choke out a thank you to her for sharing her father with the entire world membership of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I felt like I was in the presence of angels, and they weren't all on the other side of the veil.
Today, during the funeral, I found myself again tearing up as I watched the love Pres. Hinckley exuded in every talk, every smile, every wave of that wonderful cane. How privileged I am to have been alive when this "giant of a man" guided this church with such humility, wisdom, faith, and optimism. How blessed I am to have known and loved him. As I said before, I am even more motivated to stand a little taller.
I already miss him, but I know that is a selfish feeling. I cry because I won't see him at the pulpit of the Conference Center, I won't hear another witty remark, I won't feel his powerful testimony of the Savior. But I will remember.
I saw President Monson in a new light today as well. What a loving man with such a daunting task. One could say that he has big shoes to fill, but that is the beauty of the gospel and the priesthood. There is no ambition for power or recognition in the leadership of this church. Those serving are doing so because the Lord has called them. President Monson brings different talents to the table than Pres. Hinckley did, but they are every bit as needed and tailored for this time and these circumstances. I pray that the Lord will strengthen him, and that we will all support and love him in his service.
I am grateful to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I am grateful to be a wife and mother. I am grateful for good lives that lift, motivate, support, and strengthen me. I will miss him, but President Hinckley's legacy will live on as each of us live more like our Savior.