Walking Home from a Baptism

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One springtime, on a bright and sunny Saturday around noon, I walked home from the church building. I had just attended the baptism of a beautiful young girl, the daughter of my neighbors, and as I left the building I saw this girl’s youngest sister, who is about 4 years old.

Who happens to be the cutest little girl in the world.

Now, I know that that distinction has many persuasive contestants, some of whom are within my own family. I don’t wish to detract from the charms of any of these. Nevertheless, this little one is the clear winner in my view. At least she was on that day.

Just as I was passing by in the parking lot this young girl was begging her mother to let her walk home with the big kids, her siblings and cousins, who had already reached the end of the building and were just turning right on the sidewalk to go down to the corner crossing. After obtaining permission this little girl ran with all her might down the sidewalk, her legs pumping almost faster than the eye could perceive. She was a careening comet of cuteness, a projectile of prettiness. And she ran with all of her desperate might.

But she was not going to reach them in time. At the the end of the building she turned right, still at top speed, but by then the big kids were only a few paces away from the corner with the street crossing, and they did not know that they were being pursued. I cut diagonally across the parking lot and hastened my steps so that I could intervene and help her cross the street. It was a pitiful sight, this effortful struggle that would ultimately end in failure.

Or would it? Not so fast! This little girl could calculate the differential equation as well as I could, and the moment she saw that she would not reach the corner in time, she called out to her older brother. His foot, just stepping off of the curb, paused. He turned back and saw this ballistic beauty headed his way, now at terminal velocity.

Is it a coincidence that the most handsome young man in the world would be her older brother?

He smiled and held back his hand, which she grasped a few seconds later, and with a broad smile they proceeded across the street. They continued up the opposite sidewalk, still holding hands.

“What a privilege,” I thought, “to hold the hand, and the trust, of a little girl!” I followed several paces behind them, until they turned to go up their own street. By then all of the siblings and cousins were laughing and running together in a group.

A baptism, extended family here to celebrate, siblings helping one another. This is what the gospel is all about: security in family love, and in gospel covenants. In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, those two things are really the same.

~~~

We have a brother who can help us through life’s most dangerous passages. He holds out his hand for us all the day long, hoping that we will come to him. Are we calling out? Are we running?

“Behold, he sendeth an invitation unto all men, for the arms of mercy are extended towards them, and he saith: Repent, and I will receive you” (Alma 5:33).

After crossing the most dangerous passage, do we stay at his side, still gripping his hand? He wants to escort us all the way home.

~~~

I walked with a smile through the front door of my home, where live the most beautiful girls and the most handsome boys in all the universe, at least to me. “It’s good to be home,” I thought.


Alan B. Sanderson, MD is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and is a practicing neurologist. Illustration by Marisa Sanderson.

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