Last night I was reminded in a literal way what I find beautiful about gathering together with my sisters in Zion. Although I have an aversion to crowds, when my ward announced we had some tickets for the Young Women General Meeting I snagged some for my daughter and made arrangements to go up with some other mothers and sisters in our ward.
During our drive we noticed carload after carload of women and girls on the freeway. The further north we got, the more crowded the streets became; teaming with women of all ages, all moving in the same direction, toward the same goal. Finally we made it to our designated gate, through security, and, after a pit-stop in the what I will forever more refer to as the 100-acre water closet, we took our seats. We sought and found familiar faces in the crowd while the enormous room was filled with a muted buzz of positive energy as females of many ages greeted one another. I’d only ever been there once before, but to me this is one of the best parts of being there.
I felt the change before I heard or saw it. Then, as the prophet entered the room, the buzz gave way to the rustle of skirts and seats as the congregation of girls and women stood to acknowledge him. The rustling gave way to silence as President Monson made his way to his seat and then sat down.
At the end of the meeting we again rose from our seats, this time to raise our voices in song. To me, this is the second best part of the experience:
As I sing I am aware of the women and daughters to the lower left who are singing their praises with their hands, flowing in unison in ASL. As voices swell, I am conscious of the fact that women and girls are singing together stake centers throughout the world. I won’t pretend to understand the logistics–how we overcome the bounds of space, time and language. But I know we are sharing this moment together–no matter where, when or how. I feel joy in the good news of the gospel and an almost tangible power in our collective goodness (not perfection, but simple goodness) as we sing.
After the meeting I love to watch as that same energy, along with what I know is just one small part of that collective goodness, disperses out of the building and onto the streets of Salt Lake City, spreading out towards individual homes. This is the third best part of the experience. There is a certain hopefulness in the air knowing that each of us has been lifted and edified and is going forth into the world with a strengthened resolve to be and do better.
I look forward to the next gathering of saints, to take place next weekend. I’m sure wherever we are and however we are watching–whether pajama-clad or in our Sunday best in our respective homes, in the Conference Center or in branch, stake or ward buildings throughout the world–we will feel the positive energy and the collective goodness that is present wherever there is a gathering of saints.