In June we spent time as a family in Nauvoo. It was so serene and incredible. We
were able to walk the streets, have one on one time with each kid, get custard, watch Sunset by the Mississippi and Just Plain Anna Amanda, connect with missionaries, walk the trail of Hope and listen to the vignettes by firelight and fireflies, visit the Smith family cemetery, walk around the temple, take a wagon ride, and just BE in Nauvoo without a care in the world.
It was extra special for me to walk the Trail of Hope vignette with Samuel as Brad stayed with
Marie in the distance (because she was restless). We were able to go from actor to actor,
listening to their particular story of leaving Nauvoo and traveling west. They told their 5 minutes
each by firelight as the sun was setting. It started at around 8:45pm for us, and by the end it was
pitch black outside. I felt so astonished once again at the sacrifice of the early saints. They really
just walked into the unknown-and literally “walked”. Hearing each story of faith was just
overwhelming, to then question if the saints would be willing to do something like that
today-would I? Walk out into the unknown with my children, crossing the plains??? It is very
hard to see myself doing such a thing. But then I had to stop myself and ultimately came to the
realization that I cannot compare life now with life then. They are different, but in the end -am I
keeping my covenants? I guess that’s all I need to worry about. I can still honor the saints and
love them and look up to their ability to walk in the dark, but it is going to be an uphill battle if I
want to figure out if I could do it just like them.
It was magical walking down Parley street with Samuel, he was riveted at each performance,
and at one point when the fireflies came out- right in the middle of the actor’s portrayal he yelled
out - “fireflies!”, he really is my son, we both love those magical creatures.
I loved the walk down Water street, with Marie sleeping in the stroller, Brad was down at the
edge of Parley street skipping rocks on the Mississippi with Samuel and I had my time alone to
stroll. I was able to just fully be present in Nauvoo and the quiet of Joseph and Emma’s home. I
tried to imagine myself there with them, how it would feel to walk up to the mansion house and
say “hello”, once again I couldn’t imagine it-and I had to be ok with just feeling a gratitude and
love for them and this place.
I wasn’t there in Nauvoo in 1839 or 1846, I am here in Nauvoo now, in the 2017s. My experience
isn’t the same as the early saints, I don’t have to walk across the country or sacrifice the
well-being of my children for the gospel’s sake. But I do sacrifice my time, talents, and abilities,
and everything with which the Lord has blessed me- for what I am asked to do in building up the
kingdom of God on earth. Some of that sacrifice is just plain old, day to day motherhood.
It’s not a measurable sacrifice, nor is it something formal or put on display. It’s just waking up
and being there, and trying harder the next day, and working to have energy and to be well-for
them, because they need you more than ever and more than anyone. That is my trek across
the country, it is the morning till night, day after day of loving these children and working to be
better at it.
I am grateful for Nauvoo. That it will always be there . That God chose me to be a part of it in my
day and age. It is a living, breathing, entity, and not stuck in 1846. There is a Nauvoo today, and
it has a purpose for the 2017s. We remember those who were there, we love them, they are
everything to the church, but Nauvoo I found this trip, is here right now-today-and it is relevant
and brings me the peace and sunshine I need to be the mother of this generation and of these
very special children.
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