I have always loved this hymn as it talks about the Plan of Salvation, or rather the Plan of Happiness that we all have been given who are on this earth.
O My Father, Thou that dwellest in the high and glorious place,
When shall I regain Thy presence and again behold Thy face?
In Thy holy habitation, did my spirit once reside?
In my first primeval childhood was I nurtured near Thy side?
Our Father in Heaven and His beloved Son, Jesus Christ do dwell in that high and glorious place known as the Celestial Kingdom. We will all see His face when we pass from our mortal probation. We all lived with our Heavenly Father as His Spirit Children. Yes all of us. We were taught about earth life and presented a plan where we could choose.
For a wise and glorious purpose Thou hast placed me here on earth
And withheld the recollection of my former friends and birth;
Yet ofttimes a secret something whispered, "You're a stranger here."
And I felt that I had wandered from a more exalted sphere.
In this great plan, we were told about earth life, and that when we were on earth we would not remember anything about our former estate. As missionaries go out and proclaim the gospel, people are brought back to that knowledge. In effect, the veil that separates us, becomes a little thinner where as baptized members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we can perform sacred ordinances and witness special things which makes that veil very thin. And with this knowledge, we know that while the beauty of the earth and all of God's creations is glorious, our former estate was even more glorious.
I had learned to call Thee Father, through Thy Spirit from on high,
But until the key of knowledge was restored, I knew not why.
In the heavn's are parents single? No, the thought makes reason stare!
Truth is reason; truth eternal tells me I've a Mother there.
Is it not wonder that the basic unit of the church is the family. And is it no wonder that, while the Proclamation to the Family is not canonized, we sustain it, uphold to the those values and truths. We believe that the Proclamation is not only for members of the church, but to the entire world. In this verse, we are given the concept that there is a Mother in Heaven. This is a foreign concept to other religions, but it makes perfect sense that if our Father in Heaven desires us to function in family units, He patterned that after His life. And for those who are still seeking out companions, they are promised that they will have companionship in the next estate. What a loving kind Father in Heaven that loves us so dearly!
When I leave this frail existence, when I lay this mortal by,
Father, Mother, may I meet you in your royal courts on high?
Then, at length, when I've completed all You sent me forth to do,
With your mutual approbation let me come and dwell with you.
This verse is the on that I get very emotional over. I know that we are all born and all must die and lay our mortal bodies by while our spirits return back to that loving Father and Mother in Heaven who created us. We will also have grand reunions with those who have gone before us. As I mentioned in another blog, I was "gifted" with extreme emotions. I get emotional when friends, family, or anyone for that matter pass on from this life. All I need to see is one person weeping and I will join with them. Perhaps a better term for my "gift" is compassion. I feel for them and their joys of tears or tears of sorrow. It is all part of the Plan of Happiness. We do not know when we will be called home, and so we must live our lives as if today was our final day on earth.
As I eluded, this hymn has a personal connection for me. As I have blogged before, I was raised by my grandmother. when her time on this earth was over, this hymn was sung at her funeral. I've sung it before then many times, but at her funeral, I gained a testimony of the Lord's Plan of Happiness through this experience. I learned even more so of our Father in Heaven's love for all of us. I learned that all the pains and challenges that we have on this earth are taken away when we die. We lay our mortal's by. Yes, this hymn speaks of the sweet plan and reinforces the family unit. And every time I sing it, I get choked up by remembering my grandmother and what she has done for me. Along with meeting my Heavenly Father and Mother, I look forward to the reunion with my grandmother to let her know of my appreciation for what she has done for me; something that I didn't vocally do when she was here. And I look forward to meeting my birth mother to tell her that it's all good; that there is a reason for everything and I appreciate her for what she has done for me.
My wife is very much into genealogy; something that I need to do more. I imagine that those hundreds or even thousands who she has researched and done their work in temples, will fall around her neck thanking her for what she has done. After all, family history is about reuniting families together too. The veil is indeed very thin and as I personally get older and try to do what my Father in Heaven would have me do, I can see the eternal benefits of doing so - which I strive daily to do.