By Heather O.
I was out of town for July 4th, and attended a relative’s ward the Sunday immediately prior to the holiday. It’s always interesting to be in a different ward, both to see how things are the same, and how they are different. This particular Sunday was, of course, Fast and Testimony meeting, and there were, of course, lots of references to the sacrifices that had been made by those who went before us. Lots of tearful women talked about how grateful they were for those people who had fought for our freedom, and how wonderful it was that the gospel could come forth in a land where religious freedom flourished. And more than one said something like, “I’m sure I couldn’t have gone through what my ancestors did. I know I was saved for these days because I wasn’t strong enough to go through the trials they had to face.”
Ok. I’m all for being grateful for brave men who sacrificed their lives for what they believed in, and for honoring the incredible women who supported these men. But must we always insist that these women were stronger than we are? What is it about women that makes us devalue ourselves, and underestimate our own strength? I just don’t like it when women talk like that. It makes me feel like they either really think they themselves are weak, or think they are being humble by deliberately undermining their own potential power. Both options just bug me.
I recently started reading the book “My Antonia”, by Willa Cather. I’m not very far into it, but a few words have already struck me. One description I love is when the main character is describing his grandmother, and he calls her “a woman of unusual endurance.” What a powerful description. I would love to be described like that, and when I think of the really cool women I know, I would definitely use that term to describe them. And no, none of them have walked across the plains, or had to send their husbands off on 3 year missions, or anything that we think of about the trials of the early Saints. But they face their own trials and life with strength and optimism, and I am sure that they could accomplish anything that the Lord would ask of them, no matter what it involved.
And hey, I just traveled across the country with a 3 year old, and our flight back here to DC left at 5:30am. Yes people, that meant that I had to wake my sleeping child at 3am and make him travel for over 12 hours. Seriously, if dealing with that without completely flipping out isn’t unusual endurance, I don’t know what is. (Ok, I did lose it just a little bit after I had been awake for about 24 hours, but I didn’t have a single Diet Coke the WHOLE plane ride, so cut me some slack people!)
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