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Why are you here?

By Dalene Rowley

Recently I posted about the day I met President Hinckley. It could very easily have been just another of hundreds (do the math–I bet you didn’t have any idea it was that many) of Sabbaths spent juggling kids in the foyer during Sacrament Meeting, but it wasn’t.

The other incident that made that day remarkable to me was an experience that became one of a handful of moments during my life that defined what I know and who I am, and sealed my testimony within my soul in such a way I could never deny it.

Here’s how it played out:

At one point during that particular Sacrament Meeting I found myself pushing two kids in a stroller up and down a street in downtown Salt Lake City and I felt really alone. The street was deserted, the skies, the sidewalk and the buildings were grey and I started to feel a bit sorry for myself. Everyone else was inside enjoying the warmth and spirit of an uplifting meeting and there I was outside pacing the sidewalks with restless children in tow. I remember asking myself a question I’d asked myself on more than one other Sabbath during which I’d gotten so little out of my meetings, “Why do I even bother?”

Later that day, after we’d returned to Provo, I remembered I needed to get my temple recommend renewed. As I sat in the Stake President’s office, a member of the presidency started in on the standard questions and as I responded to the first few I received an irrefutable answer to the question I’d posed only hours before. As I was given the chance to bear witness to what I knew about God and Jesus Christ the spirit reminded me that this was why I bothered. Simply because I knew.

It’s not always easy to “be here.” I don’t just mean at church, I mean in the church. For some it’s wrestling kids. Or having wayward kids. For others it’s feeling alone. There is the ache of empty arms in a ward that seems to be teeming with babies. There are feelings of unworthiness and not-enough-ness. Or maybe not fitting in. An unkind or thoughtless word or deed. Temptations. Intolerance. Boredom. Distractions. Struggles over policy and/or doctrine. The reasons not to be here are many.

But even when showing up becomes difficult for me it always comes down to a half dozen or so moments like the one I described above that are indelibly imprinted on my heart and which keep me firmly planted right where I need to be. They were not lightning strikes or rolling thunder. They were just simple but monumental moments that I might even have missed had I not been paying attention or seeking some sort of reassurance.

What does that for you? What makes you stay or keep coming back?

About Dalene Rowley

Began blogging as a legitimate way to avoid housework and to keep a journal of sorts. In her other life she wants to be excellent at a number of things, but in this one she's settling for baking a mean sour cream lemon pie, keeping most of the points on her quilt blocks in line, being a loyal friend and aspiring to moments of goodness as a wife and mother.

9 thoughts on “Why are <em>you</em> here?”

  1. I have to quote Marjorie Hinckley to explain why I do it (which closely resembles your own).

    "My testimony of this wonderful work grows every day. I know that God lives. I know He lives. I have seen too much and experienced too much to ever deny it."

    Like her, I have seen and experienced too much to ever deny it. It's worth the aggravation, the rowdy children, the offenses, the unkindness from unthinking members. Even the bigotry from the outside. Because one day, the children will grow up, the stress ebbs and flows, the offenses and unkindness will be forgiven and forgotten, but what will remain is a knowledge, from the spirit, that it's worth it. Because it's true.

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  2. for me it is simple as well. i just feel happier because of it. it is hard at times but if i am honest with myself…i am a happier person when i participate in and live what i have been taught.

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  3. I go because the gospel almost passed my family by like a stranger on the street, and I'm so grateful it stopped and said, "Hey there!" I made plenty of mistakes with the gospel in my life – I hate to think what my life would be without it.

    Absolutely there are days when I think, "What are they trying to do, 'busy' us to death?" and wonder what the point is of bringing this particular three-year-old to church. But I continue because the whole thing just makes sense to me.

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  4. The Lord constantly reminds me that when I become lax or lazy, I become sullen and grumpy. But when I'm doing my due diligence to the Lord, I am peaceful and content. I might be busier, but I'm always amazed at how much happier I am.

    We've recently been having a similar discussion with our oldest kids. The conversation has been about why we should choose the harder way. It has got me thinking that rarely is the right way the easy way. Almost without exception, choosing the right path means choosing the harder path. And nowhere is that harder for me to maintain than with parenting.

    Sometimes I feel like I'm just beating my head against a brick wall to no avail when it would be so much easier to just give in and throw all the rules out the window. But always there's the remembrance of my testimony that remind me that I've got to keep pressing on and teaching my kids to live the gospel.

    I think when the last one finally moves out, I'm going to take a very long nap.

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  5. "I think when the last one finally moves out, I’m going to take a very long nap."

    Justine – ha! I have often felt the same. Now my youngest is leaving on his mission in a few months and they called me as YW pres. Rats! Nap has to wait…

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  6. Beautiful testimony, Dalene.

    Ditto . . . testimony. . . undeniable truth down in my bones . . . live what I believe even (especially) when it is not convenient or easy.

    Raised three kids, mostly as a single parent- oldest daughter & second son both served missions, third daughter not quite old enough yet — may or may not serve a mission, but all four of us are happy, healthy, honorable people, devoted Latter-day Saints. The Gospel is the primary reason for this. No question. No doubt. God made us (my family) into happy, healthy, honorable people because I (we) did what he asked me (us) to do.

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  7. Your last paragraph sums up exactly how I feel.
    I've had MANY moments that have shaken the very foundation of my testimony. It's the tender mercies in those moments when my Father in Heaven lets me know, beyond a shadow of doubt, that I am right where I am supposed to be. It's those times when I know HE knows my name.

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