On the Sweetness of Mormon Life:

A few weeks ago, my wife and I were out enjoying a beautiful Minnesota summer Sunday afternoon. After church, we hurried home, grabbed a quick bite to eat, and were back outdoors. On this particular afternoon, we decided to canoe Minnehaha Creek. We were excited to canoe this particular creek because it is close to our South Minneapolis home and because we enjoy the homes along the waters edge and because the creek is surrounded by urban Minneapolis.

Along the more suburban sections of the creek, most of the homes are facing away from the creek resulting in their backyards being immediately adjacent to the creek. Much of the creek flows fairly quickly and there are plenty of fallen tree branches and other obstacles along the way that we didn’t have much time to enjoy the scenery, but one section was either moving more slowly or else there were fewer obstacles to miss, so we found ourselves admiring the homes, and the large backyards adjacent to the creek.

Aren’t those the Bishop’s kids?” I said to my wife.

“What kids?”

“Those kids…. on the trampoline.”

“Oh,” she said. “I don’t know… are they?”

“Yea,” I said a few moments later. “That must be the Bishop’s house.”

As we floated down the creek, I watched the two children play on the trampoline for a brief moment. I was struck by how well the two seemed to get along. The older son wasn’t attempting to push the younger girl off the trampoline as I probably would have been at his age. The age difference between the two didn’t seem to matter. Him, around age 13, her around age 7.

“I don’t really know them,” my wife said, “Are you sure that’s them?”

I was positive. I had recently participated in a Scout Committee Meeting where the young man had presented his plans for his upcoming Eagle Scout Project and I had been impressed by his conduct, his reverence, & his courtesy – truly a young man who lived up to the Scout Law. His younger sister is unmistakable. She’s a cheerful & shy girl with a beautiful smile. My only interaction with her was once across the street from the stake center. My 11 year-old scouts were playing nearby when she wandered up to the piece of playground equipment I was leaning against and told me about one of her favorite toys.

“Yes. That’s definately them.” I said. I thought about waving, or shouting hello, but the creek was moving quickly and the opportunity was already slipping past as we floated downstream.

As we floated out of sight, I thought of the connection I feel with other members of the ward family. I consider them part of my family, and I hope they consider me part of theirs. I’m grateful that the Church allows me the opportunity to meet members of the younger generation that I otherwise wouldn’t know.

“Uh oh! Do you think they’re gonna tell the Bishop they saw us canoeing on Sunday?” my wife asked jokingly.

“Not a chance,” I said. “They’d have to admit they were out jumping on the trampoline.”

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