“What e’er thou art, act well thy part” is the motto of the Scotland Edinburgh Mission. The fabled stone discovered on an apartment building wall by President David O. McKay as a missionary in Stirling, Scotland stood proudly in the mission home’s garden after the apartment building’s demolition. The stone was moved to the Church History Museum and a replica placed in the garden. I took this picture of the replica stone in the garden last summer while visiting Edinburgh with my parents and aunt and uncle.
I saw the stone’s message again recently. But instead of being carved into hardened stone, I saw it carved on two beautiful and honorable hearts.
An Isolating Vacation
My parents braved COVID-19 concerns and came to visit me in Hawaii. While many states removed restrictions for their citizens, Hawaii extended its stay at home order through May 31st, just as my parent planned to come visit in early May. What that order meant for people flying to Hawaii is two weeks of isolation. The law prohibited them from leaving their designated destination. Not only could they not leave the premises, but that meant we couldn’t leave the premises either.
That meant no sunsets, or hikes, or drives, or grocery shopping. (Grocery shopping is actually my dad’s favorite adventure.) It meant no delivering baked goods to nearby friends. It meant no bike rides. It meant no watching Stig skateboard at the park. It meant two weeks of not exercising Stig outside at all. (Eek!)
It meant existing for 14 days in our two bed/two bath condo 24/7.
The day they landed, Governor Ige loosened some restrictions on businesses and after six weeks, Anthony could get into his stores. And he needed to get into his stores. So to avoid being in isolation, he stayed at the home of some dear friends who were caught on the mainland during the pandemic and haven’t come back yet.
When mom and dad arrived, they signed legal documents at the airport stating they knew the law and intended to comply. And thus began our two weeks of quarantined isolation. The state called several times verifying our compliance verbally.
Now staying at home and watching old shows and westerns wasn’t a bad vacation proposition for my dad. Every morning, he sat on the patio during the beautiful mornings eating breakfast and watching the nature around him.
My mom is an energizer bunny and loves adventure-filled vacations. She loves to be out and exploring and doing. In fact, she signed up for a workshop and was getting up at 3:00 AM to participate in that!
But we all agreed that it was awesome to hang out together. We ran Stig with a laser through our house. He absolutely loves that. I worked periodically.
Mom made her mother’s day gift from me. It was a craft idea I had using canvas, leaves from my yard, and sea glass. Mom and I did puzzles.
We watched lectures and workshops together. They encouraged my little garden to grow. Dad still made his yummy bread concoctions and instead of delivering it, I just ate most of it. Mom made lemon brownies. I ate most of that, too.
We celebrated Mother’s Day indoors. We determined Anthony could come to visit and sit outside the window on the lanai if none of us were outside and we just talked (shouted) through the windows. Anthony left us when the cool morning heated up and the full sun flooded the space.
Nearly every day, I questioned their happiness in spending their whole time being cooped up. It just wasn’t what I had ever done before and it felt so weird to not even see one sunset with them.
Finally, the intellectual realization finally settled into my heart. They knew the rules. They accepted a situation where they would be subject to those rules. And it didn’t matter to them if not one other visitor to Hawaii stayed isolated, they had signed their name to an agreement aimed to protect the citizens here and they determined to comply.
Word of Honor
They reminded me of Karl G. Maeser’s definition of ‘word of honor.’
I have been asked what I mean by ‘word of honor.’ I will tell you. Place me behind prison walls–walls of stone ever so high, ever so thick, reaching ever so far into the ground–there is a possibility that in some way or another I may escape; but stand me on the floor and draw a chalk line around me and have me give my word of honor never to cross it. Can I get out of the circle? No. Never! I’d die first!
Mom and dad’s word of honor shone bright and clear. No need to think about “escaping” the condo. They were perfectly satisfied that for their time in Hawaii, they would enjoy the scenery from inside our fence line.
President Russell M. Nelson spoke of how the Church teaches its members to be good global citizens.
In every country, this Church teaches its members to honor, obey, and sustain the law. We teach the importance of the family, of being good parents and exemplary citizens.
I’ve just sent them home. As we drove to the airport, we drove slowly so they could see the flowers and sky and ocean they didn’t get to see since they arrived in the dark. Mom loved every single flowering tree and bush. Dad commented that it was nice to be out of the house again. I agreed. It was really nice to be out of the house again.
But it was even nicer to know that my parents’ honor means something to them. It was nicer to see their integrity in action. It was nicer to see who they really were when no one else was watching. They know who they are and they are acting well their part. That was way nicer to me than being out of the house again. And being in the house with them was my blessing.
I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I have moved 64 times and have not tired of experiencing this beautiful earth! I love the people, languages, histories/anthropologies, & especially religious cultures of the world. My life long passion is the study & searching out of religious symbolism, specifically related to ancient & modern temples. My husband Anthony and I love our bulldog Stig, adventures, traveling, movies, motorcycling, and time with friends and family.