"You will have significant experiences. I hope that you will write them down and keep a record of them, that you will read them from time to time and refresh your memory of those meaningful and significant things. Some may be funny. Some may be significant only to you. Some of them may be sacred and quietly beautiful. Some may build one upon another until they represent a lifetime of special experience." Gordon B. Hinckley, 2006

Monday, January 28, 2008

Goodbye to President Hinckley, dearly loved

Last night we received the news that our dear sweet prophet, President Hinckley, had passed away. At 97 years old, having been the president of our church since 1995, he lived a good life, and has returned home to his sweetheart (and I'm sure many others) waiting for him with open arms. He's leaving behind such a legacy.

I need to take the time today to journal my feelings about this special man. I love the gospel, and my testimony has grown so much, thanks in great part to President Hinckley. The spirit and love that he carried with him touched my heart on many occasions.

Last night as I was lying in bed, so many happy thoughts were bouncing around in my head, and I wanted to record them for myself.

My memories and happy thoughts about President Hinckley:
  • His ability to carry himself with grace and dignity in the public eye. I'll never forget his interviews with Mike Wallace, and Larry King Live. He makes no apologies for who we are and what we believe, and he's earned the respect of dignitaries everywhere. On his 94th birthday, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, by Pres. George Bush, considered to be the nation's highest civil honor.
  • His jovial smile and sweet remarks while handing off the Olympic torch to Elder Neal A. Maxwell, leukemia survivor. I was so happy they were a part of the awesome Olympic festivities.
  • "Knighting" newly sustained Elder Eyring as his new 2nd counselor with his cane. Leading the congregation by waving his cane back and forth. I had posted about it here.
  • The kinship I felt with him since we were both English majors. I remember plugging through my studies at BYU on more than one occasion, and thinking to myself, "I can do this. I can get through this. Pres. Hinckley did too."
  • My kids' honor and admiration for him. As young children, they're often restless and rambunctious while watching conference at home, but whenever Pres. Hinckley gave his address, they always sat down in front of the TV and a magical calmness seemed to come over them. They knew he was someone special, and they wanted to hear what he had to say. They prayed for him nightly, without having to be reminded. Last night in their prayers, I heard them thank Heavenly Father that we had him for our prophet. It touched my heart.
  • Temple construction! I'm sure he'll go down in church history as our temple building prophet. Last night as I was flipping through channels, watching the news, I heard several different reporters say that besides Joseph Smith, Pres. Hinckley has done more for the growth of the church than any other prophet.
  • His inspiration to start building "mini-temples." One of those mini-temples was completed in Louisville, KY, while we were living there, and I'm so grateful!
  • A new conference center--he had a vision for the growth and subsequent needs of the church.
  • The perpetual education fund.
  • His quotes that prompted me to start blogging and recording my life for posterity.
  • His sense of humor. Ah, his sense of humor. How can you not just love him! He brought many a smile to my face. So lighthearted and funny. And his humor was never at the expense of another. He never took himself too seriously.
  • His encouraging, loving, positive instruction. He was never one to chastise and use guilt. He just encouraged us to "be a little better, try a little harder, be a little kinder..." A great example to me of what a good leader is.
  • His sweet affection and obvious love for his sweetheart, Marjorie. His tenderness to her was a beautiful thing to watch, and that in and of itself brought many tears to my eyes.
  • I was so touched by this quote from her funeral: " "It isn't as bad as you sometimes think it is. It all works out. Don't worry. I say that to myself every morning. It will all work out. Put your trust in God, and move forward with faith and confidence in the future. The Lord will not forsake us. He will not forsake us. If we will put our trust in Him, if we will pray to Him, if we will live worthy of His blessings, He will hear our prayers."
  • At Sister Hinckley's funeral 4 years ago, their son Clark Hinckley read a letter from Gordon to Marjorie after their nearly 60 years of marriage: "When in some future day the hand of death gently touches one or the other of us, there will be tears, yes. But there will also be a quiet and certain assurance of reunion and eternal companionship." I know there was great reunion and rejoicing last night.
  • Of course, his famous "be-attitudes" talk for the youth. I think we all have his 6 (now 9) things "to be" displayed somewhere in our houses. I do!

  • His cute address in April 2007 conference. So many of us worried that it felt like a farewell address, but we still had one more conference with him. "I am now in my 97th year. The wind is blowing, and I feel like the last leaf on the tree. Actually my health is quite good, despite all the rumors to the contrary. Skillful doctors and nurses keep me on the right track. Some of you may go before I do." I mean seriously, he's so funny!
  • I can't help but think of his closing remarks at our last conference session (Oct. 2007). My notes said, "We have been edified, uplifted. We have been inspired and lifted to a higher appreciation of this wonderful gospel. We look forward to seeing you again next April. I’m 97, but I hope I’m going to make it." We were all hoping too.

Goodbye President Hinckley. I love you and I thank you!

21 comments:

crystal said...

Sniff.

Dancin Queen said...

Hey, I think we were both commenting on each other's Hinckley posts at the exact same time.

Woah.

donna said...

what a sweetl post about such a wonderful man.

carrie & troy keiser said...

I think yours is my favorite tribute post to President Gordon B. Hinkley. You shared many thought that I too have. Thanks you for your thoughts on this wonderful truly remarkable man, prophet of God!

RoRo said...

Thank you, that was so beautifully (is that a word?) written. Why can't I write something like that? Mine is so short.

Desiree said...

I just did a tiny post about Hinckley and clicked to you because I knew you would have something good to read about him. Thanks.

Chrissy said...

You are so good at this kind of thing! Love ya!

andrea j said...

You will be forever grateful you recorded your testimony and feelings for President Hinckley. it was beautiful!

gab said...

So sweet! Thank you...I have loved reading through all these President Hinckley posts tonight.

Cecily R said...

I tried to post about him this morning but I can't do it. I am a total mess about him dying (as I knew I would be).

Your memories and thoughts about him are beautiful.

Karri said...

Wow, you said it all so perfect! (sniff, sniff also)

Holly said...

That was a beautiful post. I will miss him so much!

Julie said...

I love your post. I haven't posted yet because I don't feel like I will be able to express what I feel. I wish I could just copy and paste yours!

BTW-I am LOVING Katherine! It is actually my favorite book. This is only my second time reading it, but I was encouraged to read it from my mother and mother-in-law (would you believe it is their favorite book too?). I am re-reading it trying to decide if it would be good for my book club, so I was surprised that it didn't go over too well at yours. I don't know, I love historical fictions, especially those dealing with English History. Have you read any of Sharon Kay Penman? If you liked Katherine, she doesn't disappoint!

Zoe said...

I love that you shared these memories. I even got a giggle out of the quote from April 07 - I forgot about that! He was a wonderful man. I am soooo happy that he is back with his wife and family now. I will miss him but I know that it was time.

Just Jenny said...

I enjoyed your special thoughts on our beloved prophet. I feel you have expressed alot of what I have felt for him.

Love the sign with the words Be Grateful Be Smart....etc

I look forward to watching his funreal. Then sustaining with all my heart & faith our new Prophet.

Matchbox Mom said...

Wendi,
You are a better woman than me. I can't seem to find the words. I'm sad and happy at the same time. I will miss him too, but I know I can't be selfish. It seemed lately like he just wasn't whole without his Marjorie...he loved her so much, and their reunion is what i'm happy for. Thanks for the great post!

Tam

KATE said...

I agree with so many others, I'm happy for him, but selfish & sad for him leaving us. He was so amazing, I can't imagine conference without him!
Thanks for your sweet words Miss Wendi!

Michelle said...

Thanks for sharing this! It was very beautiful done!

Michelle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Terry said...

Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts with us. I love when I read quotes from President Hinkley that I can hear his sweet voice in my head. How we will miss him!

Dancin Queen said...

Wow I didnt know that you loved him so much. He really was a very nice man.