A few days ago I cleaned out a drawer. This is remarkable in and of itself, but the remarkable thing was I found a letter I wrote to myself ten years ago. At that time I was serving in a young women’s presidency and the letter was an assignment given by our young women’s president. The president and I had been friends since our oldest children were age three. We bought our first homes at the same time and had children roughly the same ages. Fifteen years later, we served in our church youth group. Barb was the president. I was her first counselor. I had six children between the ages of 18 and 4. Barb had four. She also had cancer.
This was a busy time for me. I had six children attending five different schools. I had pianists, flutist, horn players and violinists. I had a track star, and a swim team captain, a book addict, a comic book groupie and a junk food junkie. I had a rental property (which meant I had pesky renters.) I was training for a marathon and I owned an overweight, frequently naughty beagle. I remember that busy time and wonder how I ever had time to write to a novel, but I did. Because I wanted to.
Looking back, I realize now that everything I did I did because, quite simply, it was what I wanted to do. And I’m glad.
A few years after serving with Barb in the young women’s program I was called to be the Relief Society president. I helped plan Barb’s funeral. I dressed her body in temple clothes. More than 800 people came to her service. I hope the years until my own funeral are long and many, but because of my experience at Barb’s I hope I can say when I’m on her side of the veil of life--I did everything I wanted to do.
I don’t think my life will be measured by the books I’ve written on the shelf, but by the people I love sitting on the pews. The books are something that I squeeze into the corners of my busy, full life. I love them, too. But not as much as I love the people I live with.