Last night I donned my Norwegian sweater and volunteered at the "Festival of Trees". The "Festival of Trees" is put on each year by the Primary Children's Hospital. Various organizations build Christmas trees and auction them off. The money is donated to the hospital for needy children and important research. I was put to work as a hostess. Row J was my domain. In former years they used to post a story behind the tree that people could stand and read, but it clogged the line, so they decided to rope off the trees and post the stories out-of-reach. It became my job to share the stories with people who wanted to hear them - many, many people did. Two trees in particular were of interest on my row. One was called "Remember Me". People really seemed drawn to it because it was a rather large tree, frosted white and decorated in clear glass ornaments, and surrounded by beautiful framed prints of Jesus Christ. The display showed pictures of two babies and a handsome teenage boy. Would you like to hear the story of this tree?
These three boys are brothers from the same family. The two babies died of lung conditions, the tiny one at only one month and the other at 18 months. The teenage boy was murdered, leaving behind a child of his own. The family lost three boys. This tree is called Remember Me in the hopes that you will remember their three sons and how much they love them, that you will remember Jesus Christ, who is the reason for the season, and that you will remember that families are forever and that they will see them again.
It is a sad story and touched many people, but I felt like what touched them the most was hearing about Jesus Christ and eternal families. Many nodded at me and knowingly smiled (wearing a BYU sweatshirt), others looked at their feet and shuffled off, but muttered, "thank you", one little boy said, "That's my Jesus! He's my most favorite of all!" I felt like I had a unique chance to share a little of the gospel and bear testimony (in a way) to literally hundreds of people last night. It was a neat feeling.
The second tree had tiny board books hanging from it, with two beautiful hand-made quilts, one crocheted one, and the other a darling applique. There was a cute little bookshelf and tubs filled with books dedicated to Valentine's Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc. They also had the classics - Dr. Seuss, Clifford, Eric Carle, Berenstain Bears, etc. There were 500 books in all. It was called, "Tell Me a Story". Would you like to hear the story of this tree?
Dylan only lived to be 10 days old, dying of heart failure. His parents never had the opportunity to read him a bedtime story before he passed away. This tree is in memory of him, in the hopes that the one who purchases it will be able to read their children many, many bedtime stories.
This one touched moms especially, who were pushing their children in strollers, rocking them to sleep in their arms, or trying to keep them from grabbing a book from the display! I had to keep myself from tearing up multiple times, since story time is a special and regular time at our house!
Although I'm exhausted today (5:00PM - 12:00AM), it was a great opportunity to be able to serve for such a good cause. It was fun to meet and speak to so many people and to hear their experiences as well. One lady who loved the book tree told me that she and her husband had been married for 20 years and were never able to have children, but that she was four months pregnant! She was so excited, as was her husband. She said she couldn't wait to read her baby a bedtime story.