America the Beautiful

Thursday evening I was asked to go to a regional Boy Scout meeting. Because of my calling in the bishopric, I am involved in some of the scouting in our ward. Actually, the counselor who was supposed to go had a work conflict, so I went in his place. I didn’t have a bad attitude, but scouting isn’t my favorite thing and I was by no means looking forward to this meeting. As expected, the meeting was pretty dry as they went over the details of how to do the Friends of Scouting fundraising. Most of it could have been handled in an email. Elder Monk spoke at the conclusion and he did a good job. I was listening and trying to take some notes. The meeting closed and I was anxious to get home. It was now 8 p.m. and I hadn’t had a chance to eat after leaving work. We sang a closing hymn, “America The Beautiful.” In this room were several men in scout uniforms, the true die-hard Scouters, bless their soul, some men dressed in shirt and ties, and then many like me, in business casual who had probably come directly from work like I did. As we sang this hymn, it sounded like we were in a men’s choir. I sing pretty well, but everyone sounded amazing. I could hear the various parts. I am amazed how music can touch my soul in ways the spoken word sometimes can’t. I had the thought as we were singing, that we were all there trying to do the same thing, to help young men to grow into leaders as many of us had been mentored by men in our youth. Elder Monk had mentioned something about this as well. But it seemed clear now. We were paying it forward.  Maybe that is what the scouting program and the youth program of the Church is all about. Paying it forward. Teaching the youth how to lead. I was proud to be an American, grateful to live in a land where we could gather together like this, grateful for my church organization and the good it does as well as the good people who give up their personal time for various service and callings, and grateful for music that stirs my soul.

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