“My Soul Delighteth in the Things of the Lord” – Susan W. Tanner – May 2008
Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
Cream colored ponies and crisp apple streudels
Doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles
Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings
Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes
Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes
Silver white winters that melt into springs
These are a few of my favorite things
Much like Maria, the nanny to the Von Trapp family children in the movie “Sound of Music,” Sister Tanner spoke in her General Conference talk of things in which she delights, and I must say, her list was pretty impressive. It got me thinking about delight myself.
According to Merriam-Webster, delight means “a high degree of gratification, joy, extreme satisfaction, something that gives great pleasure, or the power of affording pleasure.” Especially at this time of year, between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I started looking at the things that give me delight.
Two of the most important are my own children. Sister Tanner spoke of her delight in her “role as nurturer.” It “allows her to express [her] deepest identity as a woman.” It is not only a mother’s primary responsibility but also part of our ‘individual premortal, mortal and eternal identity and purpose.’ To nurture is to teach, to foster development, to promote growth, to feed and to nourish. Who would not shout for joy at being given such a blessed role?”
What a wonderful role, but what a long list of responsibilities and work. Where does a mother begin? Fortunately, Sister Tanner did not leave that question unanswered. She also described several other things that she herself delights in, and all of them will help us with the nurturing of ourselves, and the children in our lives.
“I am a daughter of Heavenly Father, who loves me.” – Last week, we heard from the Primary children about this very topic. Each of these children knows that their Heavenly Father loves them, and as their parents, it is our job, and should be a delight to remind them all the time. A couple weeks ago, I was with some friends of mine at a movie, all of us well over the age constituted as children. We were separating to do those things one does before the movie starts, and I was joking with them, “hold hands and stick together.” One turned to me and said “Remember who you are.” At the time, it was funny, but this simple phrase uttered by parents who know their children are children of God was truly a testament to the relationship we should all delight in, that as children of our Heavenly Father. It is something we should never forget.
“I delight in out Savior, Jesus Christ.” – “His ministering and saving roles… provide light and hope. [He} has given us the Holy Ghost for further guidance and comfort along the pathway we should go. It is only through Him that we can return to our Father.” Yesterday, my family put up our Christmas tree, and as we remember the symbolism of the tree, and some of the ornaments upon it, I am so grateful that I can see the delight in my children’s eyes at the wonder of this time of year. Further, because Christ came to Earth and lived as we have, and then suffered for our grief, pains and hurts, there is someone who knows me, and who knows my children. He understands, and already took care of everything, if I do the best I can to follow the commandments.
“I delight in the examples of those in the scriptures who walk by faith on their earthly journey.” – We have their words, right here in our hands, waiting for us to use them. Our Heavenly Father gave us the instruction manual when He sent our children to us. He wants us to know what we need to do to get back with Him, and to help our children return as well. My mother has a sign on her wall. It reads “Have your read my number one bestseller? There will be a test.” This is the test. Read the scriptures, and delight in them.
“I delight in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ built upon the foundation of prophets and apostles.” By reading and following the things our leaders say, we can become better parents, better equipped to nurture our children through these tough times. Twice a year, we are given the opportunity to hear the words of the prophets over the pulpit in the conference center. Once a month we receive our Ensign, New Era and Friend subscriptions. They too hold the words of the prophets. We need to study these words, because they are the words of the Lord. “Whether by my own voice, or by the voice of my prophets, it is the same.”
“I delight in priesthood keys and temples that dot the earth, making available to each of us eternal ordinances and covenants.” – Just this past year, my daughter, Katie, was baptized and confirmed by her uncles. My sister in law received her endowment, and my brother was married and sealed to his wife in the temple. Although my grandfather passed away without the benefit of these blessings, I know that his ancestry has received them, because I have had the opportunity to help with that work. Three and a half years ago, I was able to go to the Nauvoo temple and have my Great-Grandmother’s work done for her. I was present as her baptism and confirmation were done, and then I completed the remainder through endowment. What a wonderful blessing, and a memory I delightfully remember.
Unfortunately in this life, some things are not so delightful. There are so many THINGS out there that are meant to cause fear, angst and unrest. The news media, reporting on events of the last days, and the current troubles of the many weigh down upon us, and strive to crowd out the peace, love and delight in our lives. We forget to look for the good, in the tempest that rages around us. The best that we can do, is use the spirit in our homes to strengthen our children, and know that they are prepared for what is to come.
Sister Tanner spoke of her granddaughter, who, prompted by the forthcoming arrival of a new baby to their home, asked the inevitable question “where do babies come from?” “The lesson about this holy subject were taught by loving parents in a sacred family setting, in the celestial climate that accompanies a new soul’s birth into mortality, and in the context of our Father’s great and eternal plan. By contrast, the next day, upon returning home from kindergarten, our granddaughter reported that she had learned that day in class ‘a big new term called sexual abuse…’ I delighted as never before in a nurturing family founded upon the teachings of Christ.”
In this day and age, we cannot wait for our children to grow up to learn the serious stuff. We have to teach it now, before someone else does. And when life is hard, as we all know it can be, we have to be ready to weather the storm.
When the dog bites
When the bee stings
When I'm feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don't feel so bad
Death, adversity, thunderstorms, whatever may come, we can remember the delights given us of the Lord and count the blessings that come our way. This time of year gives us the opportunity to remember these things, remember who helps us through them and delight in that knowledge.
This morning, as I was typing the final draft of my talk, I was listening to Christmas music on my player. I thought I had turned the shuffle feature off, but for some reason, the player moved to some more secular music. Also on the player is a song “You’re Gonna Miss This.” I almost hit the button to go back to the Christmas music, when I stopped and realized that the lyrics spoke to me.
You're gonna miss this
You're gonna want this back
You're gonna wish these days hadn't gone by so fast
These are some good times
So take a good look around
You may not know it now
But you're gonna miss this
As we look to our children, to the delight they are, and to the jobs we have as parents, and other responsibilities, we need to remember that this is what it is all about. We need to delight in what we have, and use it to better the future. We need to take the time to remember who we are, what was done for us, the gospel, scriptures, priesthood and temples. We’re gonna miss it if we don’t. And especially in this world where so many things are pressing against us, its good to know we can take delight in something.
I know that the Lord loves each of us. I know that as we follow Christ’s teachings, we will find joy, happiness and peace.
In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
I am not much of a public speaker. Small groups and children, okay, but in sacrament meeting I get so nervous.
I had the opportunity to speak today. It's interesting how the Lord knows what you need, and then can help you with how to say it.
I just want each of you to know that I delight in my relationships with you. You are such wonderful friends, and I can't imagine my life without you!