He Is Finally Home
I don't venture to write the great obituary that President Gordon B. Hinckley deserves, outlining his dedicated and marvelous life; I only want to share a few thoughts.
I admit, when he became president in 1995, I think I barely blinked- I was just a knot-headed teenager, unaware of just how important President Hunter had been and ingnorant of the man who would become the next President of the Church.
Over the next 5 or 6 years, President Hinckley's talks were, for me, an afterthought, something that came between President Monson's wonderful anecdotes and the closing song at the priesthood session of General Conference.
Then, thankfully, something in me awoke and I began to realize just how much wisdom President Hinckley had to impart to the world. His work in building more temples in the world became real to me as I entered the temple to participate in higher ordinances for the first time. His talks in General Conference began to captivate me, engage me, spur me into action to better myself and reach out to those around me.
I grew to love President Hinckley. On my mission I started a collection of quotes- I loved his words so much that I copied every entry from his book of daily thoughts, "Stand a Little Taller," into my collection.
My testimony of him as a prophet and divinely-chosen leader grew and became stronger on my mission and afterwards. It still stands today, even as I prepare myself mentally and spiritually to recieve the Lord's next choice to lead the Church.
His teachings are sublime and profound, from his earnest pleadings with the men of the Church to be better husbands and fathers, clean and worthy of the priesthood they hold, to his inspiring words to missionaries to be a little better and live up the bar that is constantly being raised. He led by example, as a wonderful husband, father, and community member, never treating others with anything but the utmost respect, even those who may not have shared that feeling.
I remember what my companion, Elder Bergeson, said when Sister Hinckley passed away, almost four years ago- "She deserved it." My first thought was, of course, "That's a bit calloused, don't you think?" But I immediately realized what he meant- Sister Hinckley has led a long life of service, compassion, and obedience to the Lord, ans she had earned the chance to rest from her earthly labors. She had, in fact, "deserved it," so to speak.
President Hinckley has earned it as well. Though he continued to lead the Church with vigor and vision, it was clear that he missed his wife. Now he is reunited with her, to spend the rest of eternity with his true love.
In a way, I envy him, in that he is also reunited with others- the Prophet Joseph, Brigham Young, Moroni, Nephi, Abraham, Moses, and countless others whose lives and teachings have molded me and countless others into the people we are today.
And, perhaps greatest of all, President Hinckley has earned his chance to rest forever in the presence of the Lord, our Savior, and Heavenly Father. That, I feel, is not something to mourne.
The other night, I had a terrible dream in which my dad was dead. I remember crying and mourning several times as I thought about losing him. When I told him this last night, in a somewhat whimsical way, he replied, "That wouldn't be a bad thing." Oh, to be as ready to accept eternity as he is, as President Hinckley was, I'm certain.
I love President Hinckley, and I will miss him. But I will take solace in the knowledge that he is now at peace, resting forever in the love and grace of our Eternal Father.