Grandma Zehrbach always told the best bedtime stories. On warm summer nights when I couldn’t quite settle into sleep, Grandma would lay beside me in the twin bed that used to be my mothers, and tell me stories about little girls quite like myself. The crickets outside the window sang and garden scents floated into the room, as the princesses in my dreams climbed trees just like I did and had grand adventures just like mine. The little girls in Grandma's stories were always smart and wise and kind, just like me. Oh how I loved her bedtime stories!
My Dad told stories too. His were true- about his childhood. I laughed so hard I cried when Dad told about chasing a greased pig as a boy, slipping and sliding around the pasture (Ew!). And the time Grandma put a pot roast on to cook while everyone went to church. Everyone, that is, except for Uncle Bill, who was working on the railroad. He arrived home shortly before everyone else returned and finding a delicious pot roast on the stove, sat down and ate the entire thing! I never met Uncle Bill, but I think his appetite was carried on to my sons.
I love scripture stories, too. I always have. I am filled with courage when I read of Daniel in the lion’s den, courage to do what was right even if it is scary. When I read of the young boy Jesus teaching in the temple, I recognized that sometimes children go to church when their parents don’t. And so I did. Soon enough my parents joined me, but those first years of church attendance were fueled by an understanding based on scripture.
I am a child of the modern age,
I am a son of the present hour.
What can these words from so long ago
Mean to me now?
The Scriptures exist today because someone (actually, several someones) bothered to write them down. How beautiful are their words! Their voices speak peace to my heart and mind, and because of sacred words, we are all instructed in the ways of the Lord.
We are the prophets, years gone by.
We spent our days, we gave our lives
For a record which was written not for us,
But for you. And every word is true.
Thankfully, someone wrote my Dad’s stories down (most likely Mom), as well as the stories of many other ancestors. Dad’s stories provided a foundation of love and acceptance for others that has continued in my heart ever since. The longer I live, the more precious their words become to me. Yet, there is a small thing missing- the stories of their struggles and trials. My grandmother was widowed at a young age…how I wish she had recorded her thoughts and feelings. I have only her living example witnessed through youthful eyes to help me understand how to go on. Those stories, written and un-written have inspired me as I continue writing memories and testimonies of my own- for my children and grandchildren.
Ancient prophets like Isaiah, Paul and Mormon wrote not just to make a record, but to specifically make a record of their testimonies for future generations. Isaiah looked into our time and made a record of his warnings. My faith is stronger because of their words. I am lifted to a place of understanding as I read and, like Mormon, the words are choice unto me!
Each word chosen prayerfully,
Laid down carefully in its place.
For here, from so far away,
We have seen your day
And we pray;
Hear what we have to say!
(What Can They Have to Say? - Steven Kapp Perry)