Monday, February 6, 2012

I Have a Family Here on Earth

Tonight after dinner as we were sitting around chatting and generally celebrating Heather's and David's birthdays, Mom started telling us about the four levels of conversation that she had recently learned about and suggested we use that as a pattern for our conversation. As she guided us from chit-chat to gossip to the exchange of ideas and finally to level four, feelings, I realized that I'm really not that great at verbally telling people, especially my family, how I feel about them. Frankly, I'm not great at verbal communication in general and tend to function much better via the written word; I guess that's why I study rhetoric and composition and love to teach writing so much. Anyway, I realized that I should probably tell my family more that I  love them. My family is pretty much the best, and yes I am willing to fight you on that one. I've written before about how awesome my parents are, and I am definitely still firmly in the camp that they are the best a boy could ask for. Tonight  I got to thinking about how great my family really is.  Having previously written a post centered on my parents (follow the link above to arrive at said post), I decided I'd focus this one more on my siblings.

My siblings are great. They are absolutely my best friends. And when I say siblings I use the term to include their spouses as well, as they have all, without fail, chosen fantastic spouses. I really look up to and am appreciative of the wonderful examples that my siblings are to me. We've had some good times together, from playing "nobody can get up the stairs" while the parents weren't home to the recent vacation we all took together this last summer to New York to times spent just sitting around chatting. I don't seem to feel super comfortable about a lot of people, but I'm always completely at ease with my siblings, and I love that. I can allow some of my more strange thoughts and ways of being to slip out and they don't think any less of me for it.

As these kinds of thoughts were generally swimming about my mind, I happened to glance up at the wall and saw the painting of my sister Emily that passed away several years before I was born. Despite never having known her personally here upon the Earth, from a young age it was instilled in me that she is still very much a part of our family and that I have another sister that I just don't know yet. In thinking about Emily in conjunction with my other thoughts about how good of friends all of my siblings and I are, I couldn't help but get really excited at the prospect of having yet another best friend that I haven't met yet.

I sat there imagining the larks we'll all have when we're all together yet again, and in doing so was overcome with an overwhelming gratitude for a knowledge of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Plan of Salvation that makes possible hope for family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. Knowing that the friendship and camaraderie that exists between me and my siblings will continue on after death with the added benefit of Emily's company almost allows for more joy than I can contain.

God be thanked for my wonderful siblings and God be thanked for good and faithful parents that live their religion and provide us with a concrete path to follow via the sterling examples of their lives. And, perhaps most of all, God be thanked for Jesus Christ who makes it all possible.

(p.s. I realize this photo is kinda blurry. If you click on it, it gets bigger and clearer.)


  1. Lovely post, Sammy. I too love your family.

  2. I feel as if our understanding of the 4 levels of conversation has really blessed us all. Since you've written about your parents and siblings, I feel like it might be time to write about your love for your favorite cousins. Let me know if you need my picture to go with the post.