This weekend I had an amazing getaway with some ladies from church. A friend of mine had recently moved to Rexburg, and wanting an excuse to have a retreat with some friends, we decided to go up for a visit and stay at my family's cabin in Ashton. We goofed off and laughed until we almost cried, and then wept together as a few opened up their hearts and shared their personal struggles. It was one of the best weekends I've ever had on so many levels.
For some time I had felt like I needed to reconnect in some way to my roots, to my home. My parents live in Utah, but for as much as I love it there, I've never really felt as though it's my home. Home for me (aside from where I live now) feels like a vague, imaginary bubble that spreads between North and South America. I feel as though "home" is just a figment of my imagination because even if I went back to the places where I grew up, nothing would be the same. Most everyone would have left, buildings torn down, and the stories I tell my children would be just that...stories.
I felt the closest place I could get to that feeling of home was by going to Eastern Idaho where I spent my summers as a child. I felt like if I could just drive down the streets and pysically see the things I saw as a child, some kind of completeness would ensue.
As I drove down the road through the rolling hills with the golden wheat fields, sprinkled with occassional groves of aspen trees, and wide open spaces, I realized I was feeling what I had come with hopes of feeling...completeness.
The morning after we arrived, a few friends and I went for an early morning jog. Needing to clear my head and wanting time to digest my thoughts, I jogged on ahead and headed off the main road, up a hill towards an old cemmetery. With the headstones covered in weeds to the point of being almost indistinguishable, I felt a sense of sacredness at being on hallowed ground. Although I couldn't find any gravesites of any names I recognized, I felt the spirit of my ancestors and my roots to the point of being almost tangible. I was overcome with a sense of gratitude realizing that the amazing life I live rests on the shoulders of the sacrifices of my ancestors in following the call by Brigham Young to settle this area. I can't imagine the sacrifice it must have been to leave the gathering of the saints after enduring the toils of crossing the plains to escape religous persecution, and watching loved ones pass away.
It was the first time that I felt the true spirit of Elijah in turning my heart towards my fathers. I realized how close and innertwined our lives really are, regardless of the decades and centuries that may separate our mortal lives. The term "eternal family" came to my mind. I had always thought of it as meaning my family would be together forever, but this time I realized that it also encompasses the fact that my family stretches not only forwards, but backwards as well, into one eternal round.
As I stood at the altar my grandfather had built on top of the rise behind the cabin that overlooks the Tetons, my heart caught in my throat as I thought of the hundreds of supplications that must have been sent heavenwards from this very place- many in grief after my grandmother's passing, and perhaps even some on behalf of my own family as we've gone through our own trials. This was as sacred a place to him as any on earth.
I was awakened to the awesome place in which I stand now, as a mother, at the head of a legacy, just as Joshua Hawkes and Blaine Hawkes did so many years ago.