That’s just the way it is.
(Thx Kiley for that last pic!)
I don’t think Max or Grace were toooo sad about practicing by then from the looks on their faces.
I could never find Elle until the end, but luckily my friend did:
Yep, same smile.
Every region had their own costumes and their own way to depict a particular part of the history of how things have gone here in the desert.
I watched a lot of the practice from the tent they were setting up for the Prophet.
They had cloggers and fiddlers (see them in front?)
That’s impressive to me!
All day we watched the dark clouds circle around us.
There was even a gorgeous rainbow.
My favorite part was when all the 18-19 year-olds who have their mission calls walked out on the field holding the flags hi of where they would be serving for the next couple years of their lives.
They joined in with all the other youth holding their own “Titles of Liberty” (see HERE)…flags they made in preparation for the celebration written on themselves outlining what they personally wanted to do to “LIVE TRUE” to be a witness of God in whatever capacity they could.
I know this is a fuzzy, blurry video, but bear with me and see if you can watch it without tearing up.
I just think of all those youth going out into the world as the “Armies of Helaman” (to read that story click HERE) to “Arise and Shine Forth.”
I’m soooo grateful for a gospel that teaches them to do just that.
After the practice everyone broke for dinner and to have a break .
That’s when the predicted clouds rolled in.
And they weren’t just flimsy little things anymore. They were big.
And they were very black.
And as those kids lined up on that field for the big show, those black clouds let go of those heavy loads they had held onto tight all day and the literal downpour began.
At this point my fellow photographer friends and I were under a little canopy deserted by all the kids who had headed out. All of our hearts sunk.
The miracle we had all prayed for (no rain) had seemingly vanished and all that work and preparation would surely have to be cancelled or put off.
It was raining HARD.
I felt so horrible for all those tired kids out there who were surely freezing and miserable standing in the rain. I was freezing and miserable standing under a canopy for crying out loud!
But what we heard from that field lined with thousands of youth wasn’t sorrow and sadness. Instead we heard the most joyous of roars. The Prophet had just arrived and their adrenaline was pumping.
My friends and I found any plastic covering we could that wasn’t already filled with rain and a couple umbrellas and went out to join in.
President Monson and Elder Eyring were standing in their little tent and the excitement was palpable.
Those kids stood out there dancing and singing their little hearts out for the next couple hours. And as I zoomed in on them with my telephoto lens I could see their faces shining with joy.
That was our miracle that night.
It wasn’t what we had expected: easy, smooth-running.
No. Instead it was a night none of them will ever forget. And even though I’m sure their bodies were cold, their hearts were warm and glowing.
Our region was the first number.
Let’s just check out Max who was so easy to spot:
And here’s happy Grace:
You can’t tell how much it was raining until you look at the lights:
You get the idea:)
I thought this one was cool with the fire dancers:
And these dancers did such a beautiful job even in the pouring rain.
See that couple-hours-ago-grass under their feet?
All the “lines” that helped them know where to go were all washed out but they still did such a great job!
And these guys, who I happened to get to stand right next to, sure seemed to love every second. At one point they were blowing kisses to everyone.
They were clearly pretty alert and entertained 🙂
This is the only picture I got of all three kids that night. It was pitch dark so you can hardly see it. But you CAN see those smiling faces after a night well-spent.
I was so grateful for the example of all those youth that night and for how they built my spirit. They stretched my heart so wide with their enthusiasm and joy despite the cold, wet world surrounding them.
And could there really be a better analogy to life than that? They are all going to hit bumpy roads here and there. That’s a given. How I hope, standing in that rain that night, that their spirits were lifted as much as mine, and that they felt their own strength and resilience.
I hope that when times get rough in life, they will remember they can do things that are out of their comfort zones. They can “arise and shine forth” just like they did that night.
And so it goes, as with many things in life, sometimes you don’t get what you’re looking for.
You get something better.
I’m so grateful I got to witness that miracle first hand.