For some reason, my mind seems to commune with Heaven a little better if I am moving around. Of course, I still kneel at my bedside each day, but some of the stronger and more memorable connections have come through praying while puttering around the house.
Chalk that one up to OCD.
Some of you may know, and some of you may not, but my mother died from breast cancer 23 years ago. The loss of a mother to a young 24 year-old, newly-wed son can only be understood by others who have experienced such a loss.
But that’s a story for another day.
While reaching up to get the corners of the marble in the shower I was in the middle of one of my daily conversations with my Father in Heaven.
In my mind, as I have done many times, I imagined having the opportunity to see her again.
Ah, we would have SO much to talk about.
But here’s the part I want to focus on: I realized that I no longer imagined myself alone when being reunited.
Included in the embrace were Ann, Alex, and Nick. It only seemed natural that we would all make the journey together, experience the joy together, and get caught up on the past two decades together.
The image made me smile.
But in mid swipe on the chrome of the shower handle, I had another image cross my mind.
There is different reunion to come, for each of us, that will make all other reunions pale in comparison.
Someday we will have the opportunity to kneel at our Brother’s feet, aching yet humbled at the nail prints before our eyes.
I imagine that He will gently raise our heads with His fingertips, beckoning us to stand and be welcomed into His strong, compassionate, and loving arms.
And after, if we accomplish all we are meant to in this life, I imagine that we will then be able to turn and approach the throne of our Father, together as Brothers.
But just as I had realized that a true reunion with my mom would only be complete if the four of us did it together, I clearly saw that participating in the Reunion of all reunions would only be complete and full of joy if done the same way.
I want to go Home with those I live and breathe for here.
This is my prayer.
As I knelt there, not saying much but just quietly listening, thinking, and mostly feeling, I realized again that I have no doubts whatsoever exactly who I am.
I know that there are many who struggle with identity. It seems that this characteristic or that, this inclination or that, this type of brain wiring or that, etc., are the things that we have chosen to use to define our identities.
Those things may be descriptors about me, but they are not identifiers.
I choose to define myself through my relationships.
I am a son of my Heavenly Father.
I am a brother to the Savior of the world.
I am the son of J. Clair and Lela Batty. I was indeed born of goodly parents and loved ferociously throughout my years headed into adulthood.
I am the husband of Ann.
It is this relationship more than all the others combined that has made me truly who I am; made me head in the direction of who I want to be; made me comfortable in my own skin and actually able to say with confidence, but no arrogance, that I like me.
I am the father of Alex and Nick. It is this relationship that makes me understand, if even only in miniscule increments, the miracle of the universe. To be entrusted with these magnificent beings, to be blessed to share ever so briefly their journey from birth until now, to stand back holding their mother’s hand and watch their meteoric trajectory into accomplishments that we can only dream of; I realize how small, yet valued I am. My contribution matters.
Someday I will be a father in law.
And then a grandfather.
If you ask me, that list contains all I need.
This is who I am.
And I am forever grateful.
On this day of gratitude, even if the pause is only momentary, take the time to ask yourself:
What do you choose to define who you are?