The Greatest Glory

The Greatest Glory

From Chicken Soup for the Latter-day Saint Soul

The Greatest Glory

But blessed are they who are faithful and endure, whether in life or in death, for they shall inherit eternal life.

D&C 50:5

In July 2003, my baby Melynda was suffering from serious heart failure and waiting for an experimental device to be approved for her use. It had been a very hard year as a result of Melynda’s numerous hospitalizations, and we decided to take a short vacation that summer to the Smoky Mountains National Park after receiving the cardiologist’s approval.

Paul, Melynda and I went on a hike one day up the Grotto Falls trail. The hike was about one and a half miles up a mountain, with three waterfalls along the trail. At the very top was a beautiful grotto cave and waterfall.

It was July. It was super hot and humid—and climbing one and a half miles up the mountain became exhausting. The first waterfall was so beautiful, I considered stopping there and going back down. But Paul encouraged me to keep going. Ironically, he was the one hauling Melynda in a backpack—I’m such a wimp!

By the time we reached the second waterfall, I was exhausted and drenched in sweat. People coming down the trail told me I was only halfway to the grotto. I wanted to quit!

Suddenly I saw an inspiring sight. Thirteen-year-old twin girls and their family had been climbing behind us; when we stopped to rest, they passed us. One of the twins was blind and was climbing that rocky mountain trail on her own, with the use of a cane. I immediately felt humbled. What am I complaining about? I thought. If that young blind girl can climb Grotto Falls trail, then I can, too! Endure, endure! The vision of the great waterfall will be worth it!

At that moment, the Holy Ghost witnessed to me further: “This trail is like the path to the telestial kingdom. Even though the terrestrial and telestial kingdoms have beauty, the greatest glory is in the Celestial Kingdom. Endure, endure, Marie. Your test of faith will be worth it.”

I thought how grateful I was for the fullness of the gospel and the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost, which can teach us spiritual truth at any time. It took the example of that sweet, blind girl climbing the mountain to encourage me.

Grotto Cave and Falls were wonderful, and as I walked down the mountain that day I had a renewed sense of courage to face the trials of Melynda’s health with a steadfast hope in Christ. I wasn’t alone—and Heavenly Father was communicating a more eternal vision for me that day. Months later I would see my own version of the beautiful Grotto Falls as Melynda’s heart defects were miraculously repaired with the experimental device approved for her.

Marie Kirkeiner

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