Friday, January 10, 2014


In a letter to her husband:

Dearest darling,

       I've been away from you enough during the last year to last me for the duration of this existence and I hope Heaven is a small place or travel is by instant atomic force."

Letters by Marjorie Pay Hinckley

As a sophomore in college I spent a semester studying abroad in Spain, about an hour outside of Madrid.  I went with a group of about 30 other kids from my university in the US and we lived with families for the 3 months we were there.  Each morning we had class for several hours and then we had the afternoon to spend how we pleased.  Several of the kids jumped on the train after school each day and headed to the city, where they spent hours, then days, then weeks and months exploring Madrid and beyond.  After class each day, I walked home and stayed there.

My genuine hope while living in Spain was to know what it felt like to live in Spain.  I spent as much time with my family as possible, because I wanted to see and know and feel how they lived.  I spent two hours at lunch with them everyday.  I watched TV and movies with them.  I played games with them, made dessert with them, practiced French with them and went on walks with the dogs.  I was fascinated by the quotidian lifestyle and have no regrets about how I spent my time.

I find I am still drawn to people that live quiet lives of consistency and build a life out of routines, habits and little actions.  I love Marjorie Pay Hinckley because she was genuine, full of life, humorous and involved in the day-to-day.  I just finished reading Letters, a compilation of letters she wrote throughout her life, for the second time and enjoyed it yet again.  It feels to me like sitting down with one of the older women you love, cherish, admire and lean on because their experience in life has granted them wisdom and stability that is gained no other way.  Her letters made me laugh on several occasions and made my heart hurt on others.  She brought countries of the world to life with her descriptions of them and she pushed me to reach out to family members more consistently (if she can drop postcards to grandkids from countries around the world I can certainly take time to reach out to those that are a few miles away).  I just really love this book.  She makes me feel so optimistic about life.

By the way, I typically link the title to amazon but this book is particularly hard to find as it's been out of print for a half dozen years or so.  I just got my hands on a used copy and after cleaning up the cover a bit it's good enough for me: happy hunting!

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