Thursday, March 22, 2007

Your Life As A Whole

Valerie J. Steimle

I had an interesting experience a few weeks ago when my stake in Mobile, Alabama sponsored the Saints Unified Choir that Gladys Knight directs and conducts.

In order for her choir to come, the missionary department of the church had to approve the building and our stake center was a very small one compared to others. It didn’t look like it was going to happen but somehow; with the prayers of our stake president it was approved. I was on the committee to help and it was an incredible month of planning and arranging. The weekend of the presentations came and the groups assigned to take care of the dressing rooms, food, and equipment setup were all busy doing their jobs. We started seven in the morning when a large 18 wheeler truck drove up to the stake center with all of their sound equipment. We only had so much time to get this entire job done before people started showing up to see the first presentation at 5pm.

The time came when all was set into motion; the audience arrived and was seated and the chapel became quiet. I really didn’t know what to expect because the choir was known as the Mormon Tabernacle Choir with rhythm and an attitude so sitting in the chapel waiting for this presentation was very exciting.

The choir walked in first, then Gladys Knight came in behind. The stake president made a few announcements, the prayer was given and the program started. Beautiful gospel music came from the voices of this choir. There were seventy choir members present and they really did sing as one. They sang old Baptist songs and some of our church hymns were arranged in a gospel style.

The singing was really enjoyable to listen to but it was what Gladys Knight said that touched everyone’s hearts. She spoke to the audience about why she is a member of the church. She said she finally understands why she sings so well. Her whole life of a successful singing career was to eventually spread the gospel. She sang since she was four years old and had a 56 year singing career. It was amazing to me to hear her speak of her whole life coming to this one realization: that she sings to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ to others. What a journey! To finally realize-after living half of her life-what her whole life mission was to accomplish.

I have been thinking about that ever since. I thought about what my own mission was in my life and I think from my perspective, right now; raising my children and continuing to write about the important aspects of the American family are life goals I would like to accomplish. Everyone has a mission to accomplish here on earth and sometimes we don’t recognize what that mission is until we are well into our years as Gladys Knight did. It’s never too late to find out what purpose you have in your life. Even when you consider your life as a whole, you can find out what you are to do and then do it!

6 comments:

  1. Yea, verily, yea, Valerie. Well said. Especially from my gray-haired vantage point.

    I'll tell you something else I've learned: nothing you study is ever in vain. I think about my piano lessons that my mother bartered sewing for. I wasn't a natural. Too inhibited, I think. I got so I could play a few hymns, and did bottom-of-the-barrel duty every now and then when there was no one else to play for meetings. But, I've really hit my stride playing for seminary. It's a bit like Peter walking on water--If I think about it I can't play. But if I trust in the spirit and believe, I can really pound out those hymns, and my seminary boys sing with gusto, all verses. I hope my mother knows.

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  2. What a wonderful experience, Valerie. You not only received the concert and its message, but you got the planning and behind the scenes preparation and all the work and prayer that went into the 'prologue', so to speak. Only then do you get 'the rest of the story.' And you told it very well. I could visualize the whole thing. Congratulations on a job well done.

    My youngest daughter sat at the same table at a banquet with Gladys Knight, President and Sister Hinckley, and Karlene's sister-in-law who ramrodded the banquet. My daughter raved for months. But that was several years ago. Somehow, it endeared Gladys K. to me, even more.

    And Liz, your piano experiences is like mine. Only I haven't got to the 'walk on water' stage yet. Maybe if I played once in a while . . . . Who knows?
    Anna

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  3. What a wonderful experience, Valerie. You not only received the concert and its message, but you got the planning and behind the scenes preparation and all the work and prayer that went into the 'prologue', so to speak. Only then do you get 'the rest of the story.' And you told it very well. I could visualize the whole thing. Congratulations on a job well done.

    My youngest daughter Karlene sat at the same table at a banquet with Gladys Knight, President and Sister Hinckley, and Karlene's sister-in-law who ramrodded the banquet. My daughter raved for months. But that was several years ago. Somehow, it endeared Gladys K. to me, even more.

    And Liz, your piano experiences is like mine. Only I haven't got to the 'walk on water' stage yet. Maybe if I played once in a while . . . . Who knows?
    Anna

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  4. I played the piano too for a while and if you don't think about it too much sometimes you can do better.
    I would rave for months too, if I had an experience like that. WOW.
    I'm glad you all enjoyed my writing. It makes it all worth the time.

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  5. What a great great experience! Is Glady's traveling the US with this group? How do we get them in our neck of the woods?

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  6. Great post, Valerie! I used to ask myself what I wanted to be when I grew up...or at least when my kids grew up. Then one day, I woke up and realized I was hwat I wanted to be; a mother in Zion! Of course, I have many interests, but I find I experience greater success in all areas of my life when I take care of my family first.

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