I moved around a tremendous amount growing up. My family lived in Oregon, Washington, Michigan, Virginia, Tennessee, Texas, California, and finally Utah. Living in so many places was rough as a kid, but as an adult I found that it came to help me tremendously when it came to finding connections with people which helped create bonds quickly. That ability to create bonds and connections with people has been a tremendous blessing in my life, and over time I have learned to look for a bond in every relationship I come in contact with as I am a firm believer that people don’t come into our lives by coincidence. I truly believe there is always a reason people come into our life and it is up to us to pay attention and figure out what that reason is.
Over the weekend my husband Rollin and I flew down to the Dominican Republic along with about 30+ other couples. Each of the couples is a part of the Founders Board of Brigham Young University and each year they take a trip together somewhere in the world. This is the first year Rollin and I have been able to come on the trip with them and coming into the trip we knew only about half or a little more than half of the couples that would be coming. As we spent the weekend with them it was amazing to see the connections that were made. Let me give an example from connections made during just one night’s dinner on the trip: As we sat down for dinner we sat next to one couple who served as the Mission President’s for the LDS Church over the Jackson Mississippi mission in the past – now that happens to be the very same mission that our son Dalton is serving in right now, which allowed us to get to ask lots of questions and learn quite a bit about the mission he is on. In addition, that same gentlemen turned out to have served as a missionary himself at the age of 19 in the very same mission in Ireland that my husband Rollin served in when he was 19. They enjoyed swapping stories of their time in Ireland and they entertained the rest of our group by discussing it with their amazing Irish accents. We loved that. Then as we sat talking with this couple the subject of Dalton’s current mission President came up and as we discussed who he was, another couple at the table jumped in to tell us that they know Dalton’s current mission President because they lived in the same neighborhood with him in Murray, Utah and he served as her LDS Bishop there before getting called to be a mission President. This same couple sharing that with us turned out to be from Idaho and are living in an area where my husband just so happens to have some relatives and they were able to compare notes about that. Then yet another couple at the dinner happens to be here from Brentwood, Tennessee – well Brentwood just happens to be the city where I used to live and where I graduated high school from. We were able to compare notes with that couple on all of the mutual friends we had in Tennessee. And all of these connections came during just one dinner!
There are a ton of additional stories I could share of connections that have come about on this trip as well as many other trips and situations throughout my life – but the point is this: forming relationships and connections with people is one of the biggest blessings in life. One never knows what will come about from the connections we have made and the friendships we have formed. I realize that it can be intimidating at times to meet new people and to form new friendships, but it is worth getting over any discomfort you may have to do it. Lifelong friendships begin from the simplest conversations and as commonalities are found between you and connections are made the walls come tumbling down and true friendships begin. I am incredibly grateful that I was able to go on the trip with the BYU Board as I made many new friends as well as deepening the relationships I have with existing friends. The trip reminded me how important it is to make time for friendships, new and old.
I hope all of you had a wonderful holiday weekend off and I wish you amazing joy and blessings as you head into this new week. My challenge to everyone is to make connections with people around you this week. Look for opportunities to make new friends and take the time to strengthen your relationships with old friends. You just never know what blessings will come into your life because of it, but I can tell you that the blessings do come. Thank you to all of you who bless my life by being a part of it.