Wednesday Words

— by Donna Mitchell

Well, I’m a little late (a frequent state) and forgetful. To compensate, I am adding my own thoughts to this theme since I can’t remember all that was discussed. I apologize in advance if I’m off track.

Ginger’s lesson in Relief Society this past Sunday was on heritage. She explained that heritage is one of many words formed from the Proto-Indo European root *ghe: “to be empty, left behind.” A heritage is something that fills the emptiness of those left behind.

In a sermon recorded in Alma, chapter 5, Alma the Younger reminds his people about the bondage and miraculous escape of the people of his father’s generation. Then he asks several thought-provoking questions about what they should remember of the heritage of their recent forefathers. Among them are these:  My brethren, you that belong to this church, have ye sufficiently retained in remembrance the captivity of your fathers? Have you sufficiently retained in remembrance his [the Lord’s] mercy and long-suffering towards them? Did not my father Alma believe in the words which were delivered by the mouth of Abinadi? Did he not speak the words of God?

Think of your parents and their lives. What lessons can you learn from the details of their lives? What has the Lord shown unto you through them? What should you retain in remembrance? What has the Lord given you to fill your emptiness?

What about your grandparents? In addition to remembering sharing a chocolate bar with Grampy or observing physical traits which you have inherited from specific grandparents, remember their good qualities or talents which you may have or which you should develop. Do you know about your ancestors beyond your grandparents? You are here because they survived hardships, some of them severe. Those with pioneer ancestors know that it required great faith for them to travel to a distant part of the country, a barren land which required much work and sacrifice to make productive.

After reminding his people of the faithfulness of their fathers, Alma asks, “Have ye spiritually been born of god? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?” He meant the same change of heart that their parents or grandparents had experienced. All of us of European (including British) descent (except those born there!) have ancestors who left their Old World homes, families and communities to come to the New World. That took courage, faith in the future and determination to make a better life. Ginger’s mother had the courage to leave a bad marriage and move across the country to improve her life and the lives of her children, even though those who knew her would not have thought of her as particularly courageous.

Feel empowered by these things the Lord has given you for an inheritance. We have the image of our ancestors in our countenances; we should have the Lord’s also. Though you may not feel strong in a character trait which you need, perhaps desperately, for the task in front of you, the Lord will help you as he helped those before you. They probably felt inadequate too, but had the faith and courage to press forward. You can too.

Donna

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