Carry On With the Journey
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Carry On With the Journey
While walking along what remains of the pioneer roads, I kept thinking to myself “Wow, they really walked these roads.” As we then participated in various re-enactments, I found myself agreeing with others who said things like “I can’t imagine what they must have felt”, “Can you believe how they did this?”, or “I’m so grateful they went through all of this.” I began to feel as if they were walking along side me whispering encouragement in my ear “You can do this.”
As we reached solo time, I retreated to my quiet spot with my journal and began to think about what they did. I also began to think about a song, speculating that I might be asked to write one. I thought about the theme of our trek “Carry On” and felt that was a good place to start.
It was in the Muddy Creek camp that I first came up with the title “Carry On with the Journey” and the story the song would tell. I felt the pioneers were telling us that you’ve experienced some of the trials and hardships we went through for the gospel of Jesus Christ, but now it is your turn to carry on and move the gospel forward.
I returned home from trek with these thoughts in my mind, but nothing solid on paper except for a title. Fortunately, the following Monday we left on a family vacation which involved traveling to Winter Quarters, Nauvoo, Farr West, Adam Ondi Ahman, Liberty Jail, and Independence. This meant that I would continue to live and feel the message of the pioneer saints. While staying in an old Victorian mansion near Nauvoo, I stumbled upon the melody for the chorus on an antique out-of-tune piano. The haunting melody was just the tune I was looking for.
Over the next few days as we drove many hours and my husband was asleep in the car and the children were watching movies quietly with headphones on, I pondered this melody and title. Pretty soon I had a chorus reminding us it was our turn to carry on with the journey. God would guide us and the early saints would share their faith and strength with us.
After coming home, I began to work on the verses. This is where I struggled the most. I had several thoughts I had written down from solo time at trek and used many of them, but I couldn’t come up with a second verse, nor could I capture the message that we need to do more than just appreciate the saints’ hardships. So I left my piano, said a prayer, and went to do the dishes. Just then a thought popped in to my head. “Split the verse in to two and write some lines about what inspired them to move forward.” I went back to the piano, split the verse, and then ideas began to flow. I remembered hearing numerous times in Zion that the reason the saints moved was because they felt that a prophet of God had asked them to. It sustained their faith in tough times. So I put this in to the verse along with them feeling the fire of the covenant calling them to help each
In sacrament, our high council speaker talked about covenants and feeling the fire of the covenant like a flame unquenchable. I hoped by putting this phrase in to the song, it would evoke all the feelings and strength of Gerald Lund’s book and Brigham Young’s famous quote. I thought about what sustained the pioneers when they had to leave loved ones who had died behind and how only the sweet peace from knowing Heavenly Father’s plan would be able to comfort them. Ultimately I knew that the only way they could complete their part of the journey was through God’s power sustaining them.
Through the process of writing this song, Heavenly Father taught me that it’s one thing to appreciate what the pioneers did, but it’s another to follow their example. It’s our turn to carry the gospel of Jesus Christ forward. We may not have to walk a thousand miles to find peace, but we do need to walk or drive to the temple. We may not need to carve out roads in great boulders and rocks, but we do need to carve out time to read the scriptures and worship God in church and in the temple. We may not have to leave loved ones behind in a shallow grave, but we may need to leave friends behind that may be pulling us away from our eternal goals. We may not need strength to endure the gnawing pangs of hunger, but we may need the strength to turn away from songs or movies that would threaten our spirits. Their leg of the journey involved bringing the gospel to the Salt Lake Valley where it could thrive and grow. What will ours be? How will we rise and lead the way? What will we do to carry on with the journey?