We Will Remember
It was a Tuesday afternoon, around 4:30PM. Since it was October 20th, autumn was nearing it’s end on the Wasatch Front and the leaves were starting to fall in earnest. He drove me up into the mountains in order to see the trees before winter swept in, but the truth was, he wanted to propose in a beautiful place. It was, indeed, a beautiful scene: sunset, autumn, overlooking a mountain valley, a diamond ring, and a sincere proposal of marriage.
It was fifteen years ago, today.
I’m a Romantic at heart. I enjoy sentimentality, tradition, and anniversaries, and the reminiscing that come with all of them, especially when it comes to my marriage. Our first date, the first time he kissed me, the proposal, my Temple endowment, our wedding, etc. Remembering our courtship strengthens our relationship!
I have noticed that when people talk about happy childhoods, it usually involves a large amount of tradition. They speak of camping trips and family vacations, Sunday dinners and Friday movie nights. They describe Christmas trees and Easter baskets, summer parades and pumpkin carvings. There is reminiscing of special occasions that accompany significant milestones of time, such as graduations, weddings, new babies, anniversaries, and, of course, birthdays. And with it all, it is the memories that make them smile.
Why is this? Why are traditions and memories so important to us?
I imagine that in our efforts to remember the good things in our lives, it has a lot to do with the veil that has been put in front of us. Our mortal minds are prone to forgetfulness just because of the nature of our fallen state. Because it is so easy to forget, and we long to remember. Elder Eyring said:
It won’t be easy to remember. Living as we do with a veil over our eyes, we cannot remember what it was like to be with our Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, in the premortal world… (“O Remember, Remember,” October 2013 Gen Conf).
Thankfully God has given us ways in order to remember –at least, in part –what life was like for us there. We can find it in the scriptures, in prophecy and revelation, our Patriarchal blessings, in the quiet moments of personal reflection, and always, always through the power of the Holy Ghost. The pattern of our weekly Sacrament meeting is also set up in a way to help us to remember what we need to in order to have the influence of the Holy Ghost in our lives. Elder Eyring continued:
Heavenly Father has given a simple pattern for us to receive the Holy Ghost not once but continually in the tumult of our daily lives. The pattern is repeated in the sacramental prayer: We promise that we will always remember the Savior. We promise to take His name upon us. We promise to keep His commandments. And we are promised that if we do that, we will have His Spirit to be with us. Those promises work together in a wonderful way to strengthen our testimonies promise and in time, through the Atonement, to change our natures as we keep our part of the promise. (“O Remember, Remember,” October 2013 Gen Conf).
Choosing to remember our covenants and to remember our Savior blesses our lives. We are changed because as we remember, we are given His spirit to work with us. But is it only enough to just remember in our mind? Or do our choices and actions, which result from those remembrances, have more to do with it?
Dennis B. Neuenschwander said:
Remembering important things is fundamental to both our temporal and spiritual well-being. Confusing what we should remember with what we can or ought to forget creates difficulties for us. Much trouble in life originates from forgetting what we should remember and remembering what we should forget. One of Nephi’s experiences with Laman and Lemuel is an interesting example of this. Nephi told his brothers that they were “slow to remember the Lord” (1 Nephi 17:45). They had seen an angel, and he had spoken to them. Though no response is recorded, I suppose that Laman and Lemuel could have looked at each other and said, “Oh, yeah, we forgot.”
Remembering the kindness of others while forgetting their offenses is spiritually much healthier than forgetting their kindness and remembering their offenses. We should keep in mind that even the Lord, who is capable of remembering everything, has promised that He will forget our sins if we repent.
It seems to me that living the gospel has as much to do with remembering important things as it does with knowing them in the first place. The word remember and its derivatives appear hundreds of times in the scriptures—certainly a lot to remember! This repetitious scriptural reminder to remember takes on added significance when we understand that in Hebrew the word remember has a much broader meaning than does the English connotation of “keeping something in mind.” In the Hebrew context, “doing” is an essential part of the remembering process. Thus, “to remember” is “to do,” whereas “forgetting” is “failing to do.” (“Remember, Remember,” BYU devotional, Nov 12, 2002, bold added).
It’s not enough to just “remember” something– we need to act upon those remembrances! Remembering to pray, go to church, fulfill our callings, go to the temple, pray, read the scriptures, and so many other things that will bring the Holy Ghost into our lives. This is why we also “do” so many family traditions! We set up our decorations, we cook special meals, we give gifts and hand out cards, as well as take photos of all these events to remember.
Remembering is so much more than reminiscing, so much more than sitting and pondering the good things in our lives. Remembering creates action and prompts us to enact the things that bring us the greatest joy. In each family Nativity reenactment, in every Easter egg hunt, in every Anniversary dinner, in every birthday song, there is a feeling of connection and love. Our traditions and remembrances bring us closer to each other, and closer to our Savior.
So, today I will kiss my husband and we will talk about the day we chose to join our lives together for eternity. I’ll tell my children about how he proposed, we’ll remember what has come from that choice. My kids will groan, my husband will laugh, and we will smile at the memories.
We will remember.
What are some of your family traditions? How do you remember the things that are important to your family? How do you translate “remembering” into “doing?”