Wednesday, June 24, 2009

We Are Never Alone

I know I keep harping about this, and I sound like a broken record, but it's my turn to blog so please indulge me.

Last weekend my husband and I took our sixteen-year old daughter to New York City. She is attending a ballet camp for five weeks with the School of American Ballet. Luckily she's done these camps for two summers in Seattle, so she is used to being gone from home. But New York is a big city and she's just a young girl. She will be living in the dorms that are located right at Lincoln Center, just above the ballet studios. There are also Julliard students that live on the top floors of the building. The place is oozing with talent and creativity.

Before we checked her in (on Sunday) we decided to go to church, which is located directly across the street on the third floor of the building where the Manhattan Temple is located. To get there from our hotel we took a cab. If you've ever ridden in a cab in New York it is scarier than any thrill ride at Six Flags. The traffic is crazy and the drivers are insane. Needless to say, we made it out alive.

Feeling a bit shaken we stepped off the busy streets of the city and rode the elevator to the third floor. When the doors opened the sweet sound of organ music playing church hymns greeted us. We were home. Members of the Manhattan 1st ward greeted us with handshakes and smiles. We sat through a lovely meeting where the spirit was strong and the congregation sounded like a choir (I'm sure there were some professional singers in the group). As soon as the meeting ended we sought out the Young Women president who was thrilled to meet our daughter and promised to take care of her for the five weeks she was there. We even exchanged phone numbers. Another woman walked up and wanted to meet us and also offered to help out if our daughter ever needed anything even just a home cooked meal.

Encouraged, we went across the street to check her into her dorm room and to meet her roommate and the other girls in her suite. Once we got her settled and her stuff moved in, it was time for us to leave so she could go to an orientation meeting and start her SAB experience. It was apparent that none of the other girls were LDS, which was perfectly fine, but her roommate had a particular fondness for a four-letter word that started with the letter "F" which started freaking me out. Also, there was a tangible competitive element that let me know, each of these girls came to be noticed and to be the best, and wouldn't let anyone stand in their way.

Keeping my game face on I told my daughter how excited I was for her and that she was going to have a wonderful experience but inside I felt like I was throwing her to the wolves. While she gave her father a hug, I took in deep breaths to calm my emotions and not let her see how hard it was to leave her there alone. Then, I looked out her window. There, directly across the street was . . . the Angel Moroni. Peace filled my soul and I knew exactly what to tell my daughter, and myself. “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you” (John 14:27).

No matter where we are, we are never alone. Sometimes we can feel lonely or alone, discouraged, forgotten, and even insignificant at times. We can never forget that we are never alone. It is during those darkest moments that we can grow the closest to our Savior, invite him in, and have his constant companionship and spirit with us.

Seeing Moroni out her window every morning when she wakes up, and at night when she goes to bed, is such a heavenly kindness that my daughter and I both needed right at that moment to help us remember that all would be well.

She will have hard days, but this experience gives her a chance to grow closer to her Savior and develop a love for him and a relationship with him that will take her through the rest of her life.


Valerie said...

On behalf of daughters everywhere, I think you deserve a great big hug for showing other moms that after years of saying "no," or "we'll see," there comes a time when moms have to take a deep breath and say "okay." I think--since I don't know from experience--that it must be pretty dang hard to unlearn the habit of watching and keeping your children close and encouraging them to wait until they're older to leap into things. I hear too much about parents who can't quite let go and try to impose a sort of Satan's plan on their kids to keep them safe and doing well. It's wonderful to hear of a parent having the love and faith to let her little bird fly. Big hugs, Valerie

Jeri Gilchrist said...

Wow, Michele. Your daughter has to have so much talent (like her mom!)
I loved the reminder that we are never alone. How incredible that every morning when your daughter wakes up and every night before she goes to bed, she has the reminder of that very promise.

All will be well...