Monday, January 28, 2008

In memoriam: Gordon B. Hinckley

Gordon Bitner Hinckley, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, passed away Sunday evening, January 27, 2008 in Salt Lake City, Utah at the age of 97. He is now reunited with his beloved wife, Marjorie, who preceeded him in death a few years ago. While I know he is grateful to be released from the heavy burden of responsibility in leading The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and happy to be reunited to his wife, my heart is heavy with sadness at seeing him go. I will miss him intensely.

I knew his days with us here on earth were numbered. Just 2 days ago I saw a press release which showed a picture of Pres. Hinckley offering the dedicatory prayer at the rededication ceremonies at the Utah State Capitol 2 weeks ago. In the photograph he looked small and very frail, even more so than he had looked in December at the Christmas Devotional or at General Conference last October. He never looked small or frail to me before then. Yet knowing in my heart that he wouldn't live much longer and coming to grips with the his death are quite different. I still feel a bit shocked at this point.

I felt a special closeness to the Hinckley family for some reason. I was living in Salt Lake City at the time he was called, ordained, and sustained as Prophet and President of the Church. I lived in the same neighborhood as his daughter Virginia. We were in the same stake (a group of LDS church congregations) and I felt as if the Hinckleys were a part of our close knit family in the Parley's Stake. I attended many events in which Pres. and Sis. Hinckley were present and I felt nurtured by their love, just as millions of members of the church across the world did. Pres, Hinckley was kind, gentle, articulate, witty, and very forward-thinking. A wonderful compilation of many of his accomplishments can be found here.

As for me, I think I'll take away from Pres. Hinckley's life his great love and compassion for all people everywhere. I'll renew my efforts to follow his counsel by doing a little better at standing a little taller, by trying a little harder to do a little better each day. I'll try to honor him by being more loving, more understanding of others, more tolerant and less critical of myself and those around me. It's not hard to "scatter sunshine" everywhere you go once you start. Being good and kind is the best kind of habit to get into. When coupled with honesty, hope, and faith, an ordinary Daughter of God like me can do much to bless the lives of others...just as I have been blessed by the life of Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley. Pres. Hinckley, may God be with you till we meet again.

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