Oh my word, it's been a crazy week! Tomorrow is Doug's Mom's 80th birthday. I'm hosting a dinner party for all of Doug's siblings and spouses to celebrate the big event with Mom. It's been just crazy. First, still catching up with reentry from our Florida trip. On top of that, we had a very busy weekend and now this week...a full plate including a family meeting/dinner last night and Mom's birthday tomorrow. YIKES!
Saturday. WOW! Due to some miscommunication, I made a 6:45 AM trip to Wellsville to pick Quayd up. He'd left at 6:15 for Antelope Island to run in a marathon. There was some confusion, but we hadn't all communicated and Quayd would not be home in time for us to leave for SLC, so before he got out of the valley, we made a call and he was dropped off at the Burger King until I could get there to bring him back home. (No marathon for Quayd, but we had a bigger commitment for later in the day.) My plan was to crawl back in bed for an hour, but ZJ was up and anxious to study her lesson. She had the assignment to teach her Young Womens class on Sunday. That took a few hours and it was time for us to leave and head south to the big city! No nap for Sophia!
Doug and I had debated for weeks on whether to take the kids with us to go to Draper (South of SLC) for a family gathering to have more of an understanding of /celebrate the Jewish Passover. This event, hosted by Corbridge cousins, featured Andrew Skinner, who married Doug's cousin. Andrew is the Dean of Religious Education at BYU and is absolutely one of the most fascinating teachers I've ever known. Andrew and Janet have lived in Jeruselum and he has studied and written books about these topics.
There was a cost involved. It wasn't much, but for our budget and for the five of us to go down, it was an expense. Also, having just been away for a week, we didn't feel right about leaving the kids for another full day while we went off to SLC. Had we known how priceless this event would be for our children, there would have never been a question. We were sooooooo thankful that we'd made the choice to take the kids and that we all were able to share in this marvelous experience. It was remarkable.
We said the prayers, sang the songs, ate the unleavened bread, tasted the bitter herbs, the full experience. Andrew's commentary and explanations were just fascinating. The kids (only about ten teens there) were intrigued.
A huge part of the evening for Quayd was that a "Father" was selected at each table. Quayd was our table's "father". The father poured the wine (grape juice) and broke the Matzah bread. Several little opportunities for him to participate more actively. He was all over that!
The entire evening was filled with a wonderful spirit, more information that we could ever digest and food.... oh my. One FABULOUS meal. A true delight.
Following Andrew's presentation, Larry Corbridge, Doug's cousin who is our family "patriarch" who presided over the meeting, concluded with his thoughts. Larry's message and testimony of the Savior was beautiful and powerful. The kids were moved to tears, as were we all.
Our travel (two hours each way) was uplifting and a learning experience of it's own. On the way down, Doug shared the stories from the Old Testament from Adam to Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Benjamin, Moses, to Christ. He wanted the kids to understand the symbolism and preparatory events in history that lead to and foretold of the coming of Christ. The kids asked more and more questions as Doug explained and shared more details. I loved it!
On the way home, aside from our stop at Krispy Kreme, the focus was on all what we'd learned. Quayd had been assigned to speak in Sacrament Meeting on Easter Sunday. He'd not prepared his talk, deliberately, because he knew that he'd learn things at the Seder Dinner that he could share in his talk. So, on the way home, Quayd shared his own thoughts and feelings and we went over the pages of notes that I'd taken. He dictated his thoughts and the points that made the biggest impact on him during the evening and I typed them on the iPad. Doug and I were blown away by all that he'd captured. It was amazing.
When we told the kids about this event a few weeks ago, we asked them if they wanted Easter baskets full of candy or if they wanted a "real" Easter experience. It was their choice. (Other than a few treats, we did not do any of the commercial or traditional Easter activities this year. Not even coloring eggs.) The kids opted to focus be on the Savior. Period. And it was perfect! All three agreed that it was the best Easter ever.
When we got home, I printed out Quayd's words and thoughts. He took the two pages and reviewed them, added a bit here and there and could be heard throughout the house until we walked out the door for church Sunday morning, practicing his talk. (I'm a stickler about kids giving talks. If they are prepared, there's no need to be afraid to give a talk. They must practice the talk out loud ten times before the presentation. I've always reminded them that they are the only ones who know what they wanted to say, so there are no "mistakes". If they've gone over it ten times, they can usually "talk" the talk and not read the talk. (I may be a "mean mom", but my kids do know how to give talks!)
I digress. On Sunday morning, Quayd gave his talk. We laughed, we cried and mostly, we felt the spirit of the Easter message that he shared. More important, he felt the spirit of it. When he was done speaking, a sister behind me, whispered in my ear, "That boy has a powerful spirit." I thanked her and agreed, then I chuckled to myself, "But, he's still an obnoxious teenage boy!" as I thought of how pokey he is when he's doing dishes, how annoying he is sharing a bathroom with his sisters before school and how loud he is! He's truly an amazing kid, but he's also a very normal teenage boy!
I also attended ZJ's Young Womens class on Sunday morning. She did a wonderful job on her lesson. She asked questions and led the discussion well. When the girls didn't have answers or want to answer, she shared her own personal testimony and stories. She's a great little teacher. It was definitely a proud mom day for me! Our Easter was beautiful!
The weather was perfect. The focus was on what it should have been, the Savior!
Doug's brother Alan and his family came for dinner, which is always a great time! They left and Doug headed straight to bed. I started preparing lists for the remainder of this crazy week.
I asked Quayd if I could share his notes from his talk. It won't have near the impact without that deep voice and him pointing his finger on the pulpit, but it is a taste of how much he appreciated his Easter experience. He spoke with firmness and conviction. One of his friends said, "Geesh, Quayd! You scared me!"
One last thought before sharing the talk. Quayd blessed the sacrament on Sunday morning. The prayers on the bread and water are so beautiful and I always love when the young priests recite the prayer with feeling and meaning instead of rushing through it. The prayers must be recited perfectly. No words can be misspoken or misread.
Quayd added the word "it" instead of "in". I didn't hear it, but Doug did. The Bishop nodded and Quayd said the prayer, again, not realizing, he said "it" again. This time, the Bishop stood up and whispered to Quayd what his mistake had been. (He usually says it perfectly!) Quayd then blessed it a third time. The third time, now a bit flustered, he almost said "it" again. As he did, he caught himself and there was a frustrated little sigh. I was horrified for him. NOT out of embarrassment, but out of his frustration and knowing that now, as soon as the sacrament was over, he would have to stand and give a talk. I prayed (and I'm sure that many others did also) that he would not let it fluster him and that he could get through the prayer and the talk. He took that sigh, corrected himself this third time, and said the prayer perfectly.
Our final speaker mentioned Quayd's error. Again, I thought that Quayd might be embarrassed. However. Brother Benson commented on the fact that he was not mocked, nor was he removed and replaced by someone else who would do it better. He said that the sacrament prayer must be said perfectly, that the Bishop's responsibility is to see to that. He and explained the purpose but then he compared this to the fact that the Savior made our mistakes forgivable, that we have opportunities to work through our issues until we "get it right". It was much deeper, but, it was an enlightening, beautiful analogy and there was much more to it. I was grateful for that tender mercy to remind Quayd that he was "okay". I would love a copy of his talk! When we discussed it after we were home, he said that he wasn't embarrassed at all, he just was tongue tied and frustrated with himself. His peers, who've all made the same mistakes, were sensitive and kind. Again, another proud mama moment. I got an email note from a friend on Monday that said, "Quayd did an awesome job with his talk. I was most impressed that he did not get flustered...." He's a good boy. Gosh, I love him.
Well, that's way more than I was going to share. It was a special Easter, a special Sabbath, a special weekend. Life is good.
Here's Quayd's talk:
Last night, we had a family gathering. Andrew Skinner is married to my dad's cousin. He is the Dean of Religion at BYU and he has been the director of BYU Jeruselum. He's lived and studied the Jewish faith for decades. So, last night, we got together for a Passover or Seder dinner with about 80 Corbridges. It was awesome and spiritual.
On the way down, Dad told us the whole entire history from Adam to Christ to remind us of why we going to this dinner.
We did everything that the Jews do to celebrate the Passover. One thing that was pointed out several times through the night, was how important it was for the father to pass down the history, the traditions and the symbolism to their posterity. So, we began by selecting a Father at each table. I was elected to be the Father which was really awesome. I didn't quite know what I was doing, but, my dad helped me, so I enjoyed doing it.
At the meal, everyone got a piece of broken Matzah bread. Matzah bread is unleavened bread. The reason that they used unleavened bread was because they had to leave Egypt and they didn't have time for the bread to rise. The father is given three whole pieces and takes the center one, then, he breaks the bread in half, and closes his eyes while the family hides the smaller half. It is hidden thru the whole meal and then at the end of the meal, the father has to find out who has it and then, he bargains for the broken piece to be returned to him.
At our table, ZJ ended up with the hidden piece. It didn't take me long to figure out that she had it because she had a grin on her face. I had to bargain with her to get the Matzah back. I ended bargaining with ZJ that I would do her dishes for a whole week when it's her turn next, so that I could get that Matzah back. The Matzah represents Christ. One thing we learned for sure was that we don't have to bargain for Christ because He promised us that he would Save us and he did it willingly. But! I still have to do the dishes.
We had a wonderful meal. We recited the prayers, we sang the songs, we drank four cups of grape juice. (It's a good thing it wasn't wine or we'd have all been in trouble.) Each cup had a different meaning and purpose. But, the third one was the most important. That was when Christ joined his apostles for the Passover meal. At that meal, Christ followed the pattern of the traditional Passover until it was time wash their hands. Instead, he washed the feet of his disciples.
Then, He broke the bread and blessed it. But, instead of using the old prayers that they'd always said, Jesus said, "This is my body and this is my blood which was shed for you." In Andrew's words, "This was the moment that the universe was changed forever. It was no longer the Passover. It was no longer about freedom from bondage. It was now the Sacrament and it was now about our spiritual freedom." That was powerful! I actually started to tear up and usually, I'm not a man to cry.
The whole meal and the symbolism of it all was just awesome. Then after that, Uncle Larry (or Elder Corbridge) spoke. What he said was powerful. He started to speak about the Savior and I'm gonna quote what he said. He told us that the Savior was represented by the Matzah bread. BUT. Unlike the bread, the Savior was NEVER broken. He was bruised. He was despised. He was rejected. He was tortured. But, he was NEVER broken. That really stood out to me because when I heard it, it meant a lot to me.
Uncle Larry said, "For us to know what we know and to have what we have is not enough." We share blessings beyond description and we need to be engaged sharing the BREAD of Life, meaning Sharing Christ with others and sharing the gospel and doing all that we can.
On Easter, we usually think about things like the Easter Bunny and Candy. This really meant a lot to me. I'm SOOO glad that I could have this experience.
Testimony. I add that he bore his testimony of the priesthood, of eternal families, of the prophets and the scriptures, Then he said, " I KNOW all of those things. BUT. Of ALL that I know, I KNOW Jesus Christ lived and died for ME and that because of Him, I can repent and we can all live again too." I love this boy. And I LOVE that he captured so much of what was taught. Priceless, indeed.