My thoughts have been dominated this week by Elder Uchtdorf’s magnificent talk Lift Where You Stand(and I may have even written about it somewhere…). If you’re Mormon, hang in here a sec while I quote the piano story. I promise(hope!) this will get interesting in a bit.
“Some years ago in our meetinghouse in Darmstadt, Germany, a group of brethren was asked to move a grand piano from the chapel to the adjoining cultural hall, where it was needed for a musical event. None were professional movers, and the task of getting that gravity-friendly instrument through the chapel and into the cultural hall seemed nearly impossible. Everybody knew that this task required not only physical strength but also careful coordination. There were plenty of ideas, but not one could keep the piano balanced correctly. They repositioned the brethren by strength, height, and age over and over again—nothing worked.
As they stood around the piano, uncertain of what to do next, a good friend of mine, Brother Hanno Luschin, spoke up. He said, “Brethren, stand close together and lift where you stand.”
It seemed too simple. Nevertheless, each lifted where he stood, and the piano rose from the ground and moved into the cultural hall as if on its own power. That was the answer to the challenge. They merely needed to stand close together and lift where they stood.“
It’s a profound concept. Each of us can stand firmly in our own circle of influence as we lift and care for those around us. As we approach the inauguration of a new president this week, my friend Ros suggested that perhaps we, as an entire nation can lift where we stand.
Unquestionably, the last few years have been divisive for our country. I’ve witnessed fights, squabbles and outright hatred between people with differing politics. But it’s time for a fresh start.
You know I don’t like to talk about it, but I’ll reveal that I’m one of the 47% of Americans who didn’t vote for Barack Obama. And yet, I can hardly wait for him to raise his right arm and take oath as my President. As OUR President.
Americans desperately need the optimism, enthusiasm, supportive press and wise advisers that Obama brings into the Presidency. I think he’ll do a fantastic job and I pray he has a golden, glorious 8 years in office. We need unity; we need good times. But I don’t think Obama and his cabinet of superstars can carry the entire burden.
Imagine the immense power if each American lifts where he stands?! If parents read with kids and ease teacher’s burdens, if drivers obey traffic laws, if littering becomes obsolete, if drug users come clean, etc. Yes, it’s a tall order for criminals to cease and desist, but what if the rest of us- the “normal” parents, taxpayers and citizens- abandon partisanship, reserve debate for policy issues and throw out name-calling, generalizations and divisions.
Americans share common priorities– education, health care, safety, family– and if we work together we’ll come up with brilliant solutions.
And Bush, poor George Bush, can we agree that it’s been a rough 8 years and lay aside the lambasting, accusations, snide comments and cruel jokes? Can he just fade away into a quiet retirement and pray that time answers the many questions of his presidency? I’ll be much more able to support my new president if I can get a break from the relentless anti-Republican jokes.
There’s a party going on in D.C this week and it’s a good one, but even those of us left at home can move close together, we can lift where we stand. And once again, we can call ourselves the United States of America.