Of all the children in all the world, I get to be mother to “my” few. I marvel that I was given “just the right ones”. How I love them! As time has passed from their infancy to the young childhood period, then through the teen years and into adulthood, I have gained a great deal of experience. Some thrilling, some joyous, some maddening, and some devastating. All good, because it has helped teach and shape me. My love has grown continually, although there have been brief moments when I would fleetingly wish to banish one or another to the farthest reaches of the earth for a day or two!
Overall, my appreciation for being a mom, and for my own children, has grown enormously. The experience gained has been huge. Sometimes as I’ve been in the thick of it, and sometimes watching from the sidelines as things unfold.
Experience, being the teacher it is, can show us a thing or two about the chaos attending poor choices, and/or “experience”. I love Mark Twain’s witty observation:
“The man walking down the street carrying a cat by the tail is gaining at least ten times as much experience as the man who is just standing there watching him.”
For sure! Some things we would prefer to stay away from: learning from a distance, rather than treading the road of chaos. Even knowing of some of the craziness, our human nature sometimes kicks in and, overcoming our divine nature, pushes us to experience some foolish, painful thing that we could have avoided by simply taking a better road. Sometimes my children wiggled, hollered, and kicked against the pricks when they had yet to learn why certain rules and regulations were given them by a loving mother- who had, in her time, wiggled and kicked against a few pricks.
It is sweet to hear my now grown, or almost grown, children refer lovingly to “my mom” when talking to friends. When I get a letter or email full of gratitude and their own growing wisdom, my heart overflows because I know they are ‘getting it’. They know their mom loves them, they recognize some of the sacrifices, and they appreciate our relationship. They might not understand it all, but they are grateful for my love and work in their behalf. How I treasure my few! And the peace I feel when they choose to walk a path that, even with accompanying criticism, cynicism, or derision, calls for their courage and devotion to good things.
My Savior. Simply writing or saying that title is humbling. Although we study, pray about, and work hard to understand the Atonement, there is so much we can’t comprehend. The love, the self mastery, the full measure of service that Jesus Christ offered in order that we can have the chance to return Home is beyond our ability to understand. Try as we may, we don’t totally “get it”.
As the years tick by, we may gain a better appreciation of our Savior’s life, love, and mission. A blessing comes with our understanding that we don’t need to understand it all! We simply need to accept it, and accept Him. What a treasure it must be for him as we grow in acknowledgment. How he must appreciate the few who will – with courage and devotion- accept that they are His!
He knows that getting through this mortal estate is tough, and asks only that we follow Him. He taught that, although his Gift was given to all mankind, most will cast it away instead of treasuring it. In Matthew 7:14 the Master spoke, “…Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”
Few there be that find it! Even though the course, the teachings, and the promptings are available to all, few understand enough to take the higher road of living according to our Father’s loving regulations.
In a small way, my children’s growing realization of “things as they are”, and their increasing love and appreciation for me, allows me a glimpse of the growth our Father wants for us. I see the cycle repeating – when I began to better understand and appreciate all my mom went through, all she did for me, all she stood for. Along with it seemed to come a deeper appreciation for the Savior, the gospel teachings, and more courage to walk the rocky roads, when necessary, to follow Him.
The “simple access” gate and the wide temporal way of living denies us access to the road that leads Home. While it may offer plenty of experience of the type Mr. Twain spoke of, it takes from us the chance to stand with the few who will witness for truth. The narrow way, that few find, gives us a peace that is other-worldly. It brings calm to our heart even when it might be beating furiously with concern, ready to burst with sadness and tears, or seemingly about to break with despair.
My own kids have sometimes wept or become momentarily depressed when their “right choices” brought embarrassment or grief. I have sometimes done the same. Yet, Jesus’ own example clearly shows that the path of righteousness may bring a great deal of controversy and even pain. In the end, there is glory for the Father and glory for the follower of Truth.
I love this poem written by the clever and insightful Edgar A. Guest:
The easy roads are crowded,
And the level roads are jammed;
The pleasant little rivers
With the drifting folks are crammed.
But off yonder where it’s rocky,
Where you get a better view,
You will find the ranks are thinning
And the travelers are few.
Where the going’s smooth and pleasant
You will always find the throng,
For the man, more’s the pity,
Seem to like to drift along.
But the steeps that call for courage,
And the task that’s hard to do,
In the end result in glory
For the never-wavering few.
I imagine that the Savior is very happy for me as I grow in my understanding of truth. Surely, he is grateful when I help in his cause and when I teach true principles to family and others who will listen. Just as I joy in my own children’s growth and goodness, he joys in mine. He is there for me. He is there for mine. His footsteps are the ones we can follow in as we walk the narrow way. He is leading the charge for all of us who are willing to be counted among the few!