It had been a long, hard day at work, and I was exhausted. I could hardly wait to get home, kick off my shoes, slump on the couch, and relax to the soothing beat of my favorite album.
With this appealing thought in mind, I climbed the porch steps and opened the front door. To my surprise, I found not the serenity I’d expected but rather the third world war in progress. As you may have guessed if you have any of your own, my mischievous little brothers were acting as the two opposing generals.
I was just in time to hear Kurt scream, “Give it back! That’s mine!” This was countered with Todd’s sassy, “If you don’t give it here, I’ll tell mom.” Kurt merely shrugged his shoulders and said, “Go ahead, crybaby. You don’t scare me.”
I was just about to intervene, when suddenly the object in dispute came sailing across the living room floor and landed right on top of my poor aching feet. Unable to check my anger, I lurched forward and grabbed Todd, the closest one to me. I was considering strangulation, which I thought would be the perfect cure, when more casually walked into the room.
Being terribly wound up by this time, I vented all my day’s frustrations on her. In a rather aggravated tone of voice I said, “Can’t you do something with these rotten boys? They’re mean and spiteful, and they’ve just made a perfectly awful day worse!” With that I turned and stormed off toward my bedroom, not noticing my mother’s disapproving glance or the hurt look on my brothers’ faces.
Once within the safe confines of my own room, I locked the door and proceeded to remove my shoes and socks and stretch out on the bed. I guess it was then that I noticed my journal resting haphazardly on my vanity. Not feeling like doing anything too strenuous, I decided to pick it up and browse through a few old memories. I suppose it was luck or maybe even a little heavenly guidance that caused the pages to fall open to page 25. Not that page 25 looked so spectacular, but the contents were just what I needed. The entry began something like this:
April 27th will always be a memorable day for me, not only because it marks the end of my first year at Ricks College, but also because it marks the beginning of a summer at home with my family. I know it will be hard to say good-bye to all my special new friends, but it will be easier knowing I take with me increased strength, testimony, and love of the gospel because of all they’ve shared with me. I’ve set an important goal to share this knowledge with my family in hopes they too will want to share it with others. It is late now, and there will be much packing to do tomorrow, but I promise not to pack away this goal.
I continued to thumb through more of the pages, but the words were a blur and I was unable to concentrate on them. I was feeling very guilty for my earlier behavior and decided then and there to unpack that goal which had been in storage for too long.
Forgetting about my aching body, I slid my feet to the floor and quickly walked from my bedroom back to the living room. There I found my brothers pouting and looking somewhat out of sorts. I began by apologizing for my bad behavior, and to prove my sincerity, I offered to spend a whole day with each one individually, doing anything they wanted to do, within reason.
Todd, being the oldest, spoke up first and said he’d always wanted to pack a good lunch (potato chips, candy bars, and pop!) and then climb the mountain that had the high school’s letter “B” on it.
In my mind’s eye I pictured the distance and wondered what I’d gotten myself into. I had been thinking more along the line of an hour or two at the park, not a strenuous day climbing mountains. However, I’d given my word, so with all the courage I could muster, I told him I thought it was a great idea. Since the next day was my day off, we would be able to get an early start.
The bright morning sunshine popped into my room much sooner than I’d expected, and so did my brother Todd. He was dressed from head to foot and very eager to start the day’s activities. Seeing him, I rolled over and groaned, suggesting that maybe we should go some other time. He quickly reminded me that I’d promised we could go today. So while he packed the lunches, I got ready.
Before I knew it, we were on our way, with a perfectly beautiful summer’s day to accompany us. At first we walked and then we raced one another to the nearest lamp pole. We then tried to see who could skip the farthest. He won, of course.
The farther we went on our little journey, the more he began to open up to me. He mentioned some of his classmates and asked my advice on how to handle the school-yard bully. He talked a little about the family and how he felt he fit in. He even blushed when he told me I was the first to know that he had a girl friend and she was the cutest second grader around. I laughed and said his secret was safe with me. He then asked me if we could sing some Primary songs, which we did, until the terrain became so steep and bushy that it was all we could do just to climb and still breathe.
We were able to help one another by pushing and pulling, and before long we had scaled the mountain and stood on top of the large white-painted “B.” Both of us were huffing and puffing, and somehow our tiredness made everything seem terribly funny. We laughed over our soggy sandwiches and hot pop. Even the melted chocolate bars seemed somewhat hilarious.
When we no longer had energy to laugh, we composed ourselves and gazed over the beautiful valley below us. We marveled at the intricate handiwork of God. There was such a feeling of awe in our hearts that we felt it appropriate to kneel in prayer and thank our Heavenly Father for helping us to reach the mountaintop in safety.
Todd volunteered to offer the prayer, and afterwards I commented on what a good job he’d done and how much the Lord must love him. I asked him if he remembered earlier when we had been climbing and were so tired we felt we couldn’t go another step. He nodded and asked me if that wasn’t the reason we’d stopped and prayed for strength. I smiled in assurance and went on to explain that sometimes in everyday life we are given trials that seem even more difficult to climb than the mountain we sat on. But if we remember to always rely on the Lord’s strength, he will lift us and make the way possible for us to reach our goals. Having finally reached them, we will experience the same feeling of happiness that we felt when we’d reached the top of the mountain. Even though we won’t always see a big white “B” at the top of every trial we overcome, we will still feel a strength in our hearts. It will remind us that we can “B” anything we want to “B,” as long as we do it in righteousness.
At first I wasn’t sure if he had grasped the meaning of my symbolism. By the way he was bent over with his head in his hands, I supposed he hadn’t even listened to a word I’d said. So gently prodding, I asked, “Todd, did you understand what I was trying to say?” When he didn’t reply or even so much as flinch, I slowly lifted his head.
For a moment I was taken back when I saw the sweet humble tears rolling down his cheeks. I vowed then to never pack away my summer goal again.