Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The Most Important Thing

I am blessed to be surrounded by wonderful family members and friends who manage to uplift me with love, cheer, and great insights. One friend shared with me a very profound statement (and I can't remember if it was his own original thought or something he was quoting from someone else):

The most important thing
Is that the most important thing
Is the most important thing

I reflected on this while sitting in our temple last weekend. It is a place where I can ponder the majesty of the Creation and the plan for the ultimate destiny of man, which includes eternal life and exaltation (made possible by our Savior, Jesus Christ). And it occurred to me that THAT is the most important thing. My eternal life and exaltation. It means keeping the commandments and the covenants that I made with God, and having sufficient faith to take full advantage of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. It means loving and serving others, including those dear ones within my family whom I hope to associate with...FOR - EVVVVVV - ER.

Everything else is just a bunch of details.

It reminds me of my wedding. I had a GORGEOUS wedding and reception, thanks to the generosity of my parents. It was a fairy tale celebration of a quality befitting the acquisition of such a fine husband and the culmination of what is sure to be the GREAT LOVE STORY OF ALL TIME (in my very humble opinion, of course). Yet, even within this grand event there were some minor details that went awry. For example, the florist planned to preserve my beautiful bouquet under glass so that I could enjoy it after the wedding as a decoration in my home. I was so excited. But they messed it up so I didn't get to have that. The photographer forgot to do some of the poses we had asked for. The florist put carnations on the reception tables where I had specifically asked for roses. The band played a song that I asked them NOT to sing, and they forgot to do "our" song ("Hello" by Lionel Ritchie). In the days following my honeymoon, I remember these things being a big deal to me. Not enough to spoil the great event, but enough to cause some stress afterward as I thought those sentimental things were supposed to be 100% perfect. Of course, more than seventeen years later...

...the most important thing... that the most important thing... the most important thing.

What really matters is WHO I married, and under what authority we were married, so that our marriage could last through the eternities. And I guess the fact that more than seventeen years later we are still GA-GA in love with each other is also pretty darn important. The rest is just a bunch silly details that don't matter a hill of beans any more, and as I remember those silly details that went wrong, I look back on that earlier stress as just a sign of my immaturity at the time.

I figure in a thousand years, we'll all be dead. We may be sitting around in the afterlife, meeting people and asking: "How long did you live?" "What did you die of?" And people will answer: "100 years"..."16 years"..."40 years"..."68 years"..."35 years"..."86 years"...whatever..."Got run over by a train"..."Choked on a hot dog"..."Weird freaky aneurysm"..."Heart attack"..."Stroke"..."Cancer"...
"Construction accident"...whatever...

We'll ask, "Where did you live?" "Chicago"..."Texas"..."Long Island"...
"England"..."Japan"..."Africa"..."Montreal"..."Salt Lake City"...whatever...

And at the time, all that stuff will just be interesting details that we will ask to get to know each other better. They won't be as important as they seemed right at the very time they happened. What will really continue to be important is HOW each of us lived.

In a thousand years, I want to sit together with my family in the afterlife and reflect back on our lives as interesting but distant memories, just like I would sit today with my husband and reminisce about our wedding day. Maybe we'll laugh and cry together as we remember special times, happy times, and sad times. But the details will have diminished in their impact as we are busy loving each other and rejoicing in our reunion. At that time, a thousand years from now, the only thing that will REALLY matter to us is "the most important thing."

So that's what should really matter to me now.

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