lift where you stand

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.

January 17, 2009
January 21, 2009



  1. Kelly

    January 18, 2009

    Amen my friend. Your words are lovely and I hope that MANY read them!

    Bless you!


  2. Jodie

    January 19, 2009

    Wow! Very inspiring words. Thanks for sharing from your heart. I’m lifting.

  3. Linn

    January 19, 2009

    Okay, that was just beautiful! Thank you so so much. Now it is my time to lift.

  4. Heather

    January 19, 2009

    Right on sister!

  5. Tracy

    January 19, 2009

    Wise words my friend. Amen…and God Bless America!

  6. jennie w.

    January 19, 2009

    Hear, hear!

  7. Bonnie

    January 19, 2009

    Amen! I wish that we could have peace…maybe not in the whole world, but if the UNITED States of America could just be UNITED.

    Thanks so much for sharing that!

  8. jendoop

    January 19, 2009

    What wonderful way to connect concepts. I’ll be referring to your post today.

  9. Jennk

    January 19, 2009

    Well said, Michelle. Your blog is inspirational. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  10. Alyson (New England Living)

    January 20, 2009

    Beautiful! Love it!

    I just gave you an award over at my blog. 🙂

  11. Redhoodoos

    January 20, 2009

    I agree! I love his optimism. My coworker took the day off tomorrow so that she could watch the inauguration. I thought that was brilliant. Great post as usual!

  12. Kira

    January 20, 2009

    That brought tears to my eyes. Thank you. What a great message, I am going to pass it along 🙂

  13. Chelle

    January 20, 2009

    standing ovation for this post!

    : )

  14. Amara

    January 20, 2009

    I’m forwarding this post to as many people as I can. Thank you. You’ve helped me clarify my own sentiments on these things. It’s nice when someone can give words to the feelings I’ve been having with no effort on my part!

  15. Linn

    January 20, 2009

    Okay cute friend, I just posted a link to this post on my blog. If you’d rather I didn’t sing your praises to every one I know, speak now or forver hold your peace. You are fabulous!

  16. Michelle

    January 20, 2009

    Thanks for your kind comments– I was EXTREMELY nervous to post this and I’m grateful to get support on both sides of the political spectrum.

    And I thought President Obama’s inaugural speech was FANTASTIC.

  17. Mama

    January 20, 2009

    Knowing you as much as I do, I feel confident in saying there isn’t much you could post that could make me feel any differently about you — I respect your opinion and your words because you are thoughtful and a good person, Michelle. Don’t be afraid to be your whole self. Those who love you (like me) accept you for your differences and similarities.

    And right on!

  18. Michelle

    January 20, 2009

    You said it so well! Thanks!

    I was at the Hospital the other day reading some magazine…and there was your cute family. So fun to know you!

    I went to do a “Healthy Snack” today at school with our First Graders…your boy is so cute!

  19. Lisa R.D.

    January 20, 2009

    I came to your blog from Linn’s… you put things so eloquently and captured what I’ve been feeling all day. I hope it’s okay if I link to your post too :).

  20. Patti

    January 20, 2009

    “And yet, I can hardly wait for him to raise his right arm and take oath as my President. As OUR President.”

    I could not agree more. Well put. I’m enjoying the optimism and hope that’s part of today. Thanks for adding to that feeling.

  21. Seagulljaap

    January 21, 2009

    Sending blessings from BYU. Thanks for a good lesson while I was in town. Your lessons are so refreshing.

    I agree with you. We are in very perilous times and we all must lift where we stand. I feel like when faced with a crisis, Americans who work together really get things fixed. We can and will get through this. We have done it before with the Revolutionary war, the Civil war, the panics of the 1800s, reconstruction, Vietnam, and countless other times of worry. Let us be united, once again, to come out stronger than ever.

  22. Denise

    January 21, 2009

    well said…

  23. martha corinna

    January 21, 2009

    I love your posts Michelle. Always uplifting and insightful. I think Obama may have ripped you off though, you wrote it first, right?!

Comments are closed.