Last night my husband asked me what I’d like for Christmas.“Well, to start with, I’d like peace on earth, good will toward men,” I began . . .
When visiting Dayton Ohio recently, we attended an event at Wright State University’s basketball arena. We circled the outer lobby of the facility, looking for our section, when a sign caught my attention. Actually, I stopped right in my tracks; the sign read “Bombers Club.” I wondered where “Terrorist Club” might be. I later learned that Bombers Club is an elite group of sponsors who have their own suite. Dayton is the home of aviation, the hometown of Orville and Wilbur Wright, and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, among other av1ation-related facilities and museums. Of course the Bombers Club was around long before 9-11, and I don't suppose changing their name is an option. Longtime residents of Dayton probably don’t think twice about the club’s name.
It made me think of the changes in my own life since 9-11. We bought our home 15 years ago from a couple who retired and moved to be closer to their son. Years later, on the morning of September 11, 2001, the woman and her daughter boarded a plane in Boston, bound to LA. Instead of arriving in LA, it plowed into the first of the two Twin Towers that were the terrorists’ targets. I believe our home mourned. I knew where the daughter’s bedroom had been (from the color of the carpet) and I stood at the kitchen sink, wondering how many meals the mother had prepared from that very spot, and how many times she must have glanced out the window to see what her children were doing.
Boarding a plane, which some people still refuse to do after that agonizing day, is increasingly stressful. Every time we arrive at an airport, we are subject to modifications in the security screening procedure, even to the point of the new “three-ounce containers, one quart zipper bag in your carry-on” rules. You can’t even take a large tube of toothpaste which has been rolled up, with an ounce or two of paste left. No, the tube must be three ounces or less when it was full. A piece of foil-wrapped gum can set off metal detectors. We are forced to take off sweaters, jackets, shoes, watches, jewelry and belts, and to empty our pockets of any objects which might contain metal. Laptops must be taken out of their cases and scanned separately. No doubt the next time I travel, there will be a new rule in place. I have yet to fly when the alert level has not been “raised to orange.” It’s less stressful to simply plan ahead for these regulations, arrive at the airport earlier and follow all the rules, created to catch the bad guys, which inconvenience the good guys.
I think of the scripture, D & C: 9:30: “I tell you these things because of your prayers; wherefore, treasure up wisdom in your bosoms, lest the wickedness of men reveal these things unto you by their wickedness, in a manner which shall speak in your ears with a voice louder than that which shall shake the earth; but if ye are prepared ye shall not fear”, and still I wonder how we could have prepared for such a catastrophe to happen in our country. I believe, though, that the scripture has personal application. If we think of the worst that could happen to us in our own lives, preparation takes on a different meaning.
Preparation could mean having your will, power of attorney, living will, and other pertinent documents up to date, so family members will know of your wishes. That could save many agonizing moments and decisions, and also spare them many legal questions, if all is in order. Discussing these subjects with our children may not be easy, but it’s important. Deciding on guardianship of young children requires soul-searching and prayer, and the hope that the guardians will never be needed.
Simply knowing that we as parents have made these provisions will give our children a feeling of security.
I believe that if we listen to our prophet and follow his counsel, we shall not fear. Our 72- hour kits and emergency plans should be in place. And as we are reminded every April and October in Conference talks, we should do our best to get out of debt. We should do a better job of taking care of each other.
Then my Christmas wish takes on a different meaning, and reminds me of the many aspects of life in which I can prepare, and the importance of establishing peace in our own lives and families. And then, having done all that we can reasonably do to prepare for whatever may happen to us and our loved ones, we can take comfort and strength from the counsel of this hymn, one of my favorites:
How gentle God’s commands!
How kind is precepts are!
Come, cast your burden on the Lord
And trust his constant care.
Beneath his watchful eye,
His Saints securely dwell!
That hand which bears all nature up
Shall guard his children well.
Why should this anxious load
Press down your weary mind!
Haste to your Heavenly Father’s throne
And sweet refreshment find.
His goodness stands approved,
Unchanged from day to day;
I’ll drop my burden at his feet
And bear a song away.