Appreciating Citizenship

I just had the privilege of participating in a citizenship ceremony which has caused me to reflect on some things related to some of my Word of the Month posts, including this month’s word which is Privilege.

I attended a Court of Naturalization and witnessed a number of individuals become Citizens of the United States of America. My simple part in the ceremony was leading the singing of the National Anthem, which was certainly not a highlight of the day, especially considering technical difficulties with audio.

The highlight for me was when the new citizens stood and introduced themselves, telling where they had come from and their feelings about this new citizenship. In spite of, or perhaps more accurately because of, the fact that this journey had taken a great deal of desire, time and effort on their part, it was apparent that they did feel that this was a great privilege. They came from an interesting assortment of countries and backgrounds. There was a recognition that there is something special about being “American”, including rights and opportunities unavailable to them in other countries. There were expressions of gratitude for this new citizenship and those who had helped and supported them in their journeys. Some expressed excitement about new opportunities to participate and immediately afterwards registered to vote.

Do we who have been privileged to be born into citizenship appreciate what we have? Do we recognized that among all the inhabitants of this world past and present, we are among the most privileged? Do we appreciate the sacrifice others have made for us to enjoy these privileges?

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Capacity is a word that keeps jumping out at me recently. Shopping for appliances, I heard much about “capacity.” Often capacity is viewed in terms of quantity – the amount of space which can be filled or contain something. The implication is that more or larger is better. When talking about human capacities, whether that be mental, physical, emotional or spiritual, we are usually thinking about abilities or potential.

Human Capacities

Physical capacity usually involves strength, endurance, and stamina. Some people are able to physically do more or for longer because of greater physical capacity.

Mental capacity is what is referred to as the power of receiving and holding knowledge – the ability to comprehend, reason, to learn and understand.

Emotional capacity is something we don’t think much about, but I think it is real. I recently heard someone comment about another’s “capacity for chaos”. Some people seem to be able to handle stress, adapt to changes or deal with upsetting situations better than others. Some have greater capacity for self-reliance. We look to first responders and leaders for such capacity in dealing with emergencies.

Spiritual Capacity is about the potential of our souls to develop and expand and progress. Our goal may be described as “enlightenment” or becoming more Christlike – more loving, understanding and giving.

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Light the World

I started out this Christmas Season with great intentions. I even tried to start early with a little shopping, preparing Christmas cards and neighbor gifts before the end of November. I started December by attending a wonderful Christmas Social which got me in the spirit. Our family visited Temple Square in Salt Lake City and enjoyed the lights. I found the book Jacob T. Marley which I read quickly and then re-read A Christmas Carol.


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints presented a program for December #LIGHTtheWORLD, with daily suggestions for service following the example of Jesus Christ. This sounded like a great and organized way to focus service efforts during the season.

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Lessons from a Tornado

Tornado nightmares

I have had tornado nightmares. I live in Utah, which is not generally known for tornadoes, so these nightmares might have seemed unrealistic and nothing to worry about. One involved a vivid image of a car in my driveway being lifted up in the air and turned upside down – with people I love inside it. In another there was a view of a menacing funnel approaching a soccer field. At that time I was spending a good deal of time at soccer fields, sometimes during storms.

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