One of our most moving trips was this past April, when Stephen, Jade & I set out on our 10 day adventure. We drove down from Vancouver, Canada to California to check out San Fran, got stuck on the PCH, over to Las Vegas NV, stopped in at the Hoover Dam and ended up in Moab, Utah for a few days before we went to the most moving part of our trip. A drive through trip to Salt Lake City.
Stephen had never really been on a big trip anywhere, so it was awesome showing him around the parts of the USA I knew about, my favorite places to eat, favorite hotels, parks etc. And Jade had never been to Salt Lake City other than one time when we drove through but didn’t have time to pull over.
This time we MADE time. So we pulled into SLC to check out Temple Square. Now we aren’t Mormons, both Jade & Stephen were raised Christian and I wasn’t really raised with any religion (my choice) but I tend to identify more with my late Grandmother and some of her Catholic views. We can all appreciate others views on religion and respect it. We really, really wanted to take the tour that the Mormons offer. We wandered into the visitor’s center and were checking things out when both Jade & Stephen had to use the restrooms, they took off leaving me to talk to strangers. I HATE talking to people I don’t know. This lovely couple came over to chat with me. The older gentleman’s first comments were “whoa, you sure got some sun there miss.” uhhh DUH! I explained we just came from 3 days in Moab and we were from Vancouver, Canada where it rains most of the year, by then Stephen & Jade had wandered back. The lovely couple had asked if we wanted the guided tour they offer and we jumped at the opportunity.
There were little stories explaining who Joseph Smith was and they explained how the Mormon religion was an open, loving religion. They showed us some of the missions they had been on, how many languages the Book of Mormon is now printed in and the Elder went to his car and brought back a Book of Mormon for Stephen. These were not the ‘SisterWives’ kind of Mormons. 🙂 This couple was amazing!!! We then had a video section of the tour they asked if we wanted to go through, hesitant, we went along with them. The short film was cut into sections following the life of one family. Part 1 The birth of the children, Part 2 The kids in school, Part 3 Grandma & Grandpa not doing too well and forgetting things, Part 4 Grandpa passes away, and Part 5 Explaining the Mormon religion and death. The parents explained to the children Grandpa went up into heaven and that they should not feel sad as he is watching upon them and saving them a seat in eternity. It really touched all of us, Jade & Stephen sat solemnly watching the video and the older couple (tour guides) and I were wiping away tears. Prior to the tour, the older gentleman informed me that just 6 weeks ago his son who was 45 passed away from a Heart Attack leaving his wife and children. 6 weeks!!! I mean wow. Our hearts broke for this family. The film had ended and the Elder (man) told us through his tears that his son had passed, I don’t think any of us could hold back the tears. For this husband and wife to share their hurt and their faith with us and thier belief that one day they will be reunited with their son with perfect strangers really touched Jade, Stephen & myself.
Why do we as humans not share who we really are? How we really feel? We all feel hurt, we all feel shame, happiness and all that other jazz. No??
The Elder and his wife really touched our hearts on this trip and I think wrapped up the trip so nicely. Love your family, love your life, travel and seek out as much adventure as possible because one day you could drop dead of a Heart Attack at 45 or what not.
Sure, each religion has its flaws and certain individuals who take it to the extreme, but being a traveler and seeking out the human connection between others has really opened my eyes and heart to the world around me. Jade & I are always judged when we go anywhere. I have tattoos all over and Jade doesn’t look the way a “girl should look” (maybe we should parade her around in a pink tutu??) This story just reminds us not to judge and hope others will not judge us. We all are of the same world and all want the same things in life, happiness, food, shelter and loved ones.
Go out there and get those!!!
Get out there and do what you love!!!
Make yourself PROUD!!!!