I ran across the following little ditty the other day and it really struck a nerve with me:
“I don’t want to drive up to the pearly gates in a shiny new sports car, wearing beautifully, tailored clothes, my hair expertly coiffed, and with long perfectly manicured fingernails. I want to drive up in a station wagon that has mud on the wheels from taking kids to scout camp. I want to be there with grass stains on my shoes from mowing Sister Schenk’s lawn. I want to be there with a smudge of peanut butter on my shirt from making sandwiches for a sick neighbor’s children. I want to be there with a little dirt under my fingernails from helping to weed someone’s garden. I want to be there with children’s sticky kisses on my cheeks and the tears of a friend on my shoulder. I want the Lord to know I was really here and that I really lived. ~Marjorie Hinckley
As I’ve had time to ponder this, I have come to the conclusion that I really waste a lot of time and energy on unnecessary things. I sometimes worry too much about the condition of my house when my Littles are over when really I should be down on the floor playing with them and spending those cherished moments that are all too fleeting. I have seen that I could be much more charitable within my own neighborhood and more generous with my time for my sweet neighbors and my ward members. I don’t get down to SLC to see my elderly father and mother as much as I should because “life” just tends to get in the way!
So I appreciate Sister Hinckley’s sweet comments above. She stands as a beautiful example of what characterizes a Christ-like, charitable, loving woman and I recognize that I have fallen short.
I want my Littles to remember me for the “times” we spent together and the memories that we made together. I want the scratches in my furniture, the marks on my walls and the cracks and chips in my nick-knacks to conjure up sweeter times when my Littles were indeed “little”. When I look at my vintage “Little Black Sambo” book and see the scribbles on the inside cover, I will always see the precocious little smirk on Anthony’s face as he so proudly displayed his precious artwork to me that day!
I remember the time when my daughter Brittany was about 10 years old and she accidentally kicked a bottle of hot pink nail polish off a balcony in our house. It hit the top of my new piano, broke and splattered all over the top, dripping onto the keys and ultimately landing on my carpet. I walked in from work to find her dad and sister frantically cleaning up the mess. I was CRUSHED. I loved that piano. I instantly knew that what I said to her would remain with her the rest of her life…she was upstairs in her room crying and didn’t know that I had arrived home yet. So I took a moment to collect my thoughts, I shed a tear or two and then I went up to talk to her. She saw me as I walked into her room and she burst into tears. I sat next to her on the bed, put my arm around her and calmly said, “You are more important to me than that piano”! Now, I’m not jockeying for Mother-of-the-year; that was one of the FEW times I handled the situation well…We did get the piano cleaned up and even got it out of the carpet! Every time I played that piano and hit a certain “E” in the upper register, I saw a hint of the pink polish. It served as a sweet reminder of my precious daughter. I felt so bad that I had, even for an instant, put that piano ahead of her!
So I too want the Lord to know that I was really here and that I really lived!