How many people in the world are fortunate enough to (1) have seven brothers and sisters and (2) be good friends with them all? I've always loved them, but one of the best things about growing up is watching everyone develop their character and decide who they are and what they like and what they'll study in college and how we can all become peers instead of an uncertain pecking order.
Since this weekend was General Conference, I spent it with my family. We're a little more spread out now, but Friday night was especially fun because there were five of us home. I draw such strength from my siblings and their warm, strong personalities.
Elder Bednar, one of the twelve apostles, spoke today about temples and homes. He mentioned that temples are the most sacred place on earth, being God's house on the earth, and the only place that can compare to the temple in holiness is the home. I remember hearing this as a child and furrowing my brow a little. I loved my home, but it was a rather noisy place, and with so many small children, there were definitely lots of arguments and scuffles. But today as I sat with my parents and Michael and Angi and thought about how much I love my family, it made so much sense. The home is holy- the temple is where we go to form eternal families, but the home is where we go to develop them, teach them, and provide for them a refuge from the deluge of filth that pervades the world. A home will be whatever we try to make it. If we are not trying to make it anything, it will not amount to much. Just like developing a character, developing a home takes conscious effort and work. It takes lots of effort to not only make a home a pleasant place physically, but also spiritually.
Even though my family's house when I was small was a little disorganized and sometimes loud and dirty, I think it did qualify as a holy place, where we we all taught that God is our Father, who loves us and wants us to return to Him. In those walls, we were taught that, because we are God's children, we must act accordingly and not do anything that would defile or demean us. And, for the most part, we tried to live the lessons we were taught. And now, as we grow up and one by one become adults and move away to college and try out all these lessons we've been taught for ourselves, away from home, all those years of learning in our home are paying off. I love by brothers and sisters so much. They are among my very best friends. I'm pretty blessed.