A friend of mine recently posted a touching video on social media. It showed military parents, long stationed far away, surprising their children at school and at home. Some parents were dressed as the school mascot, others just walked into a classroom. Either way, the surprise was huge and the children ran full speed to throw their arms around their mom’s or dad’s neck. Happy tears were all around.
It was a wonderful reminder of how important those family bonds are, and how deeply we love each other.
And it made me think of heaven. Surely there will be reunions equally joyous, hugs equally tight. I imagine people coming home through the veil, spotting a long-missed loved one, and running to embrace. “Group hug” could include dozens in that long-awaited gathering. Perhaps those already there will run as well, eager to finally hold their dear ones close.
Sometimes we forget that our great, great, great grandmother may have been our best friend prior to our birth. We don’t know her in mortality, but when we walk through that veil, we’ll remember her, and clasp her tightly. Who knows how many loving associations we’ll regain, which are hidden from our view at this time?
This is another reason why I urge friends with cruel parents or siblings to remember that somewhere in your family tree are people you love, or will love. And they will be close family connections for you someday. All the more reason to find them and get their temple work done.
I think of our daughter, Nicole, when we went to Norway for a visit. She served her mission there, and when we arranged to meet up with a friend, I saw a young woman racing through the airport. She grabbed Nicole, lifted her up, and twirled her around, so happy to see her again.
And who can forget that amazing scene at the Garden Tomb, when Mary realized it wasn’t the gardener she was speaking with, but Christ himself? Mary must have leapt to her feet and dashed over to him, because the Savior then said, “Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father…” (John 20:17)
The past two years of the pandemic have kept us apart, postponed weddings, prevented travel, and even kept families from spending those last moments with a loved one, before they passed. It’s time to rekindle our associations, schedule meet-ups, and even grand reunions this summer.
It’s time to take that “family feeling” to the temple, and seal our ancestors to their parents and children.
Think of people you miss: A cherished teacher, a kind person in Young Men or Young Women, an old friend you’ve lost touch with. Reach out. Find them. Thank them for making a difference in your life.
We all have people who’ve meant something special to us, steered us in the right direction, or lovingly understood when we’ve struggled. Instead of just thinking fondly of these folks, let them know how much they mattered. You may not be able to throw your arms around their necks, but you can send them a message of gratitude. And if they are no longer living, tell their children. What a joy it would be to hear from you.
President Thomas S. Monson once said, “What is most important almost always involves the people around us.” Share life’s ups and downs—give strength to, and receive strength from those you love.
Most of all, think of your reunion with the greatest friend you ever had: The Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Someday each of us will see Him on the other side. But right now, we can connect with Him at any moment, and He is there for us. A prayer thanking Him for all He has done, is always a wonderful way to reunite.
Perfect for Mother’s Day, Hilton’s Latter-day Saint novel, Golden, is available in paperback and on Kindle. All her books and hundreds of YouTube Mom videos can be found on her website.