I was working on a crochet project the other day, and my mind was whirling. The yarn I was working with was multi-colored. When I first picked up the skein of yarn, the end of the strand was separated so you could see the different threads that were carefully wound together to make one strong strand of yarn. As I began to crochet, the different colors in the yarn started to form a pattern. It was exciting to see how the colors blended together to create a beautiful weave. The weave was strong because the strand of yarn was four threads strong.
My mind went from one thing to the next as I began to relax in crochet mode. I thought about some things I’d seen on the news over the last couple of weeks. It is disturbing to me that there is so much hatred in the world, and I began to think about why people act the way they do and commit such horrible atrocities. The more I thought about it, the faster my fingers crocheted. The faster my crochet hook moved, the faster the pattern began to take shape.
I looked down at my work and saw something I hadn’t seen before; differences. The varying shades of blues and grays became Christians, Muslims, and Jews. Sometimes I saw New Zealanders and Sri Lankans. There were Caucasians, Hispanics, African-Americans, Native Americans, Asians, and Pacific Islanders. The patterns became more intertwined and beautiful.
The colors weren’t fighting against each other, but were working together to create something unique and wonderful. I was so excited about the wonder of it all that I wished I had been working on a large project instead of a small pair of slippers. I wanted the patterns to become more intricate and detailed, but alas, the slippers were made for a child. I didn’t want the beauty of the pattern to end, but before I knew it, each slipper was the right size.
My dad always taught me to stand back and admire my work no matter what I was doing, so when I finished the slippers, that’s just what I did. I admired them not for my own work, as I’ve made lots of these simple slippers in the past; they are quick and easy. Instead, I admired the work of the varying shades of blues and grays for complementing each other and working together. There was no animosity and clashing; just love and harmony knit (or crocheted) together in love.
That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ. (Colossians 2:2)
And he commanded them that there should be no contention one with another, but that they should look forward with one eye, having one faith and one baptism, having their hearts knit together in unity and in love one towards another. (Mosiah 18:21)
We are all Heavenly Father’s children and He loves us all. He is no respecter of persons. He doesn’t hold any of us with more regard or esteem than another. He is our Father. As a parent, I can’t even think about loving one of my children more than another. I love them all equally, though in different ways. They are all beautiful people—each one of them quite different from the others. In fact, I don’t think I could have gotten any other children who were as different from each other as mine—but I love them all.
As Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love us, we should expand that love to others around us—without thinking about the color of their skin, national origin, or whether they are a Catholic, Methodist, Lutheran, Friend, Muslim, Jew, atheist, agnostic, or a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I might also add that we should love members of our faith equally—whether active, less active, or completely inactive.
Our Father in Heaven loves all of His children, too. … Yet His children can be so intolerant with one another. Neighboring factions, whether they be identified as groups or gangs, schools or states, counties or countries, often develop animosity. Such tendencies make me wonder: Cannot boundary lines exist without becoming battle lines? Could not people unite in waging war against the evils that beset mankind instead of waging war on each other? Sadly, answers to these questions are often no. Through the years, discrimination based on ethnic or religious identity has led to senseless slaughter, vicious pogroms, and countless acts of cruelty. The face of history is pocked by the ugly scars of intolerance . . .
Not long ago the First Presidency and the Twelve issued a public statement from which I quote: “It is morally wrong for any person or group to deny anyone his or her inalienable dignity on the tragic and abhorrent theory of racial or cultural superiority.
“We call upon all people everywhere to recommit themselves to the time-honored ideals of tolerance and mutual respect. We sincerely believe that as we acknowledge one another with consideration and compassion we will discover that we can all peacefully coexist despite our deepest differences.” (Elder (now President) Russell M. Nelson, Apr. 1994 General Conference, quoting Statement of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve, 18 Oct. 1992; as quoted in Church News, 24 Oct. 1992, p. 4.)
The hearts of the world can be knit together in love—and it starts with me. It starts with you. It starts in our homes, expands to our neighborhoods, then cities, counties, and countries. We can create Zion.
All it takes is a little love.
Tudie Rose is a mother of four and grandmother of ten in Sacramento, California. You can find her on Twitter as @TudieRose. She blogs as Tudie Rose at http://potrackrose.wordpress.com. She has written articles for Familius. You will find a Tudie Rose essay in Lessons from My Parents, Michele Robbins, Familius 2013, at http://www.familius.com/lessons-from-my-parents.