Emily Belle Freeman
IMG_0901ed.jpg

THIS IS MY JOY

AND MY GREAT REJOICING

Love All of God's Children

Grace and I came to Saint George for the week. My favorite pastime in Saint George is a river hike...you have heard me mention it before.

This year there were almost thirty of us who made the hike...ranging in age between three and seventy.

I hiked up with the fast group.  We waited at the top for those who were journeying with the toddlers.  When then finally arrived they told us they had met a group of four 80-year -old women who were making the hike as a birthday celebration.

I was immediately intrigued.

What a fun group of women!!

Grace and I decided to leave the group and go find them.

It didn't take long before we met up with Barbara, Mary Margaret, Charlene, and Joyce.

We asked about their story ...have you ever noticed that it is when you come to know someone's story that you come to love them?

we must remember that...

So they shared their story.  How they were friends from birth.  Since 1934.  Same elementary.  Same high school.  Now they live in different States. But they had gathered together to celebrate their eightieth birthdays.  How remarkable.

I asked if they each had a piece of advice they would share with Grace and I.

you can't pass up on eighty years of wisdom.

Here is what we learned...

"friends make the difference" Barbara

"be happy" Mary Margaret

"the best antiques are old friends" Charlene

"enjoy each day like it's your last" Joyce

As Grace and I hiked down the mountain I was reminded of one of my favorite quotes from Conference, "love all of God's children.  Even, and especially, those with differing views from your own." Elder Anderson

Some of the greatest learning opportunities of my life have come because I have opened my heart.

They have come in the moments when I have set aside what is different between us for what is common among us.

Those four women will be one of my most favorite memories of this trip.

And when I am eighty I hope to have friends just like that.

 

imageimageimageimage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Emily Freeman