Yesterday, Rob and I had the opportunity of attending the temple. We said a special prayer together before going in that we might feel close to Branson, and to have an added amount of peace while we were there. Since Branson's passing, I yearn to be in the temple, for it is where I feel the closest to him...away from the distractions of the world, and freed from the negative thoughts that Satan tempts me to believe.
All day I had been thinking about Branson, and what he's doing during this time that we are spending apart. I often try to envision him...what he looks like, what he's doing during the day, what his mission in the spirit world is. During his name and blessing at the hospital, we had a strong confirmation from the spirit that Branson had in fact been called on a special mission at this time, and I have had that confirmation many times since then. I don't know exactly what he's doing, or why he was needed...I just know that it's real, it's important, and that he was valiant enough to be called and obedient enough to answer it.
During the session, the story of Helaman's 2,000 Stripling Warrior's (Chapters 53 and 56 in the Book of Alma, Book of Mormon) kept coming to my mind. This has always been one of the most inspiring and motivating stories in the Book of Mormon for me. Over and over during the two hours we were in the temple, I thought of these young men who so willingly and courageously accepted the call to serve, and vowed to protect their liberty, their families, and the lives of their people.
I wasn't exactly sure why this story kept coming to mind, when I had prayed to feel close to Branson, and we were also seeking direction to another situation in our lives. Yet, I couldn't ignore that the thoughts were there.
So, first thing this morning after eating breakfast, I sat down at the table and opened up to the book of Alma. I started to read the story of these stripling warriors, and as I read, I felt the spirit so strong and it all started to come together.
Over the past 7 months, and particularly the last 2 months, I have been able to meet (via the Internet) hundreds of mothers who have also had to say goodbye to their little ones too soon. All of these mothers...these families, are good, loving people. Parents who would have provided a wonderful home and a life full of love to these little spirits. As I have learned about each child and each family that they are a part of, I have been so amazed and inspired by each one. Every single little life, no matter how short, has already made a difference in so many ways...in so many lives! I have often wondered why so many of them had to leave these beautiful families...why weren't they allowed to stay?
And it hit me...all of these spirits were needed for something special...important. They have been called home to be a part of something great. Like these young men in Alma "...they were exceedingly valiant for courage, and also for strength and activity; but behold this was not all-they were men/women who were true at all times in whatsoever thing they were entrusted. Yea, they were men/women of truth and soberness, for they had been taught to keep the commandments of God and to walk uprightly before him." Alma 53:20-21
The spirit whispered...they are all Heavenly stripling warriors.
What an incredible thought! These spirits, working together, comprise perhaps one of the greatest "armies" ever known. Although their call is not to defend in a mortal battle, it's a call to defend in a time of spiritual unrest. They do not fight with weapons of war, but with the power of God. They don't have to defend the liberty of their land, but perhaps they defend the truthfulness of the gospel and the beauty of the plan of salvation. They don't make preparations for a physical battle, but perhaps they do make preparations for the second coming. They don't stand guard with weapons to protect their leader, but perhaps they do protect and prompt their families, friends, and loved ones on both sides of the veil. They don't teach others the methods of battle, but perhaps they do teach other spirits about Christ and the joy they can find through living his gospel. Perhaps these are just a few of their duties as warriors of truth.
The stripling warriors of the Book of Mormon succeed in their mission to protect, and I have no doubt our warriors will do the same.
"...they fought as if with the strength of God; yea, never were men known to have fought with such miraculous strength; and with such mighty power" Alma 56:56
I am thankful that I received an answer to my prayer, for the thoughts I had in temple have helped me feel closer to Branson, and they have brought an added measure of peace.
It is my prayer, that although I still grieve the separation from Branson...that I still have days full of tears and a heart full of longing...that Branson will someday be able to reply as the Stripling Warriors did...
"We do not doubt our mothers knew it"