Oh, the treasure of freedom!
My parents lived through the last part of the Great Depression here in the U.S.A. Because of those memories, ‘waste not, want not’ was a habit they never changed. Their appreciation for little things was lost on me as a youngster. Now, I’m full of gratitude for their expression of gratitude for every little thing, and for teaching me to value my country and all the ‘little things’ that make life better…including fixing those toys when I might have wanted to replace it with a nice shiny new one!
We just returned from Germany, where my husband was training some Church employees, and I was able to speak to many of the amazing German women and Young Women at a fireside presentation.
From that experience, I have grown yet another depth of love and appreciation for the testimony, the love, and the principles of truth and light that we share – with men, women, and children all over the world.
A most precious memory will be a visit with a beautiful couple who live in Berlin, where the brother is bishop of the Berlin ward. They have lived in their home for more than many years. They lived as German citizens, enjoying their church callings, work and family when – without warning- military came in to begin building a wall. Their home’s location placed them in what became “East Berlin”, under Communist control. They lost precious freedoms, watched families broken apart by that wall [with some living on one side, and others just across that dark line], and suffered indignities as well as daily changes in availability of items many of us take for granted.
The joy radiated from their faces and tears of gratitude trickled down this dear sister’s face as we recalled the great day the wall came down! I could more easily see the elation of families reunited after decades. I could sense the thrill of having proximity to simple things like bananas, honey, and renovations of buildings that had been neglected for far too long.
Far more importantly, I felt their humble gratitude for the regaining of freedom. Tears formed again- theirs and ours- as we walked to different commemorative spots, and my husband and I learned personal insights and experiences from two people who love God, love the Eternal Plan, and love their freedom.
Through it all, they retained their testimony and, in fact, grew it in great depth and with appreciation. True to the faith, they prayed for the day to come when the brightness of freedom would offer their children a better life. It came!
This amazing couple is as giddy and delighted now as they were in 1989, when East and West began to be rejoined. Any who lived through it will surely not take their freedoms lightly.
A Type for All of Us
The day of the falling of the Berlin Wall is a ‘type’ for so many things that keep us bound, keep us away from loved ones, prevent us from moving ahead in the light of truth.
Grudges, anger, pride, sins not yet repented of, greed….. Any number of things can build a wall that cuts us off from the very gift that we should treasure most.
President Ezra Taft Benson once declared, “Freedom must be continually guarded as something more priceless than life itself.” [Conference Report, 1953 p. 40.]
The Adversary stomps around, seeking to build walls. Between countries, between this worldly sphere and a much better one accessed by prayer, between family members and friends, and between us and our God.
Every time we chip away at a wall that keeps us bound up and separated from the more full light and truth, we can rejoice! Each time we pull down a brick of pride or sin, we are letting in more light. Every prayer offered for safety, for testimony, for freedoms that come with gospel truth, is heard.
I will never be the same for that personal glimpse into history through the eyes of those who lived it. I’m grateful for the comparison given me of the Berlin Wall and any wall that keeps us imprisoned.
Little wonder there was shouting in heaven for the plan that granted us personal free agency. Freedom! It is a treasure!