Thursday, June 21, 2012

On Solemnity

The scriptures speak of “the solemnities of eternity,” and I have felt that. There is a holiness that is solemn, quiet, restrained—and I love that. But I have also discovered that sometimes we dance before the ark in a sort of wild, manic holiness. Perhaps I have learned this best from family life. Certainly, eternity is made up of more than solemnities. At church on Sunday, I partook of the sacrament, thanking God the Father that he allowed his Son to die for my four children, that their mistakes might be atoned. Then my two-year-old made a mad dash for the front of the chapel, laughing wildly. I chased him calmly, wearing my new hand-drawn father’s day tie. I felt happy but received a glaring look of reproof from an older member of the congregation—a real stink eye. I began to worry that I have not taught my children reverence for holy places. I felt ashamed and frustrated. Then Oliver took off running again toward the glarer, and I said to his older brother, age four, “Quick! Go catch him!” Emerson took off running down the aisle and accosted his brother, pulling him back to our family by one arm while Oliver dragged along the floor. It was a slow, painful-looking procession, with the two-year-old struggling with all his might and the four-year-old gravely, determinedly marching his way back to us. My wife and I looked at each other and began laughing, out loud and with unrestrained glee. And I felt the Spirit of God in that moment—as much as I had during the sacrament. Oh, how I love my wild, holy children, and I believe some of that wildness and joy and laughter might well last into the next world. Eternity is made up of more than solemnities.

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