Ezra Taft Benson, a former President of the LDS church, and his wife used to make their home their top priority. As they would teach their children the gospel, they would also emphasize they wanted their family to have no “empty chairs,” in the eternities.
Months ago we bought a new kitchen table. It seats six and contains a leaf that creates plenty of room to grow. I instantly fell in love with this table when I saw it in the store. It was being sold with gorgeous white tufted chairs, but with three young boys, I instantly knew they would be ruined after one meal. So I swapped them out for something sturdy that I knew could withstand our crazy boys… One day right?
After the table was delivered, I was absolutely giddy. I could hardly wait to eat dinner on it. For eight years we had owned a tiny little table that was difficult to fit our entire family around. Often times, Pat or I wouldn’t eat at the table with the kids, it was just too small.
That night as we sat down for dinner, I happily looked around the table. I had cooked one of our favorite meals, our boys were spread out and weren’t fighting or stealing each other’s food, (Amazing right?) and everything seemed perfect. As I sat across from Pat, my eyes unexpectedly fell on the empty chair next to him. Without warning, tears started streaming down my face. That empty chair screamed to me that we were missing Preslee.
I was instantly embarrassed. The last thing I wanted Pat to see was me crying after he bought me a brand new table. As I tried to hide my tears, I felt two little arms wrap around me. Ledger, my observant little five year old, had quietly climbed out of his chair and walked over to give me a hug. He didn’t say anything, he usually doesn’t, but he just stood there with his arms tightly wrapped around me. As I stared at that empty chair, the direct thought came to mind, “It won’t be forever.”
Since then, that empty chair has served as a reminder that Preslee is still our anchor up in heaven. Though life and trials can be difficult and consuming, it really is true, they won’t last forever. I desperately hope Pat and I can teach our boys that they can do hard things and though it won’t always be easy, hopefully my dream will one day come true—that there really won’t be any empty chairs.
"God intended the family to be eternal," President Benson has said. "With all my soul, I testify to the truth of that declaration. May He bless us to strengthen our homes and lives of each family member so that in due time we can report to our Heavenly Father in His celestial home that we are all there - father, mother, sister, brother. . . . Each chair is filled. We are all back home." (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, page 493.)
I loved President Benson’s message so much that I reached out to Robin, at Chirp Chirp Designs to create a rustic custom sign to be hung above our table. I absolutely love how it turned out and everything it stands for. Robin has agreed to team up with us for a $50 giveaway for one of our readers to her shop! She’s incredibly talented and wonderful to work with. She has now made three custom signs for our family, all of which I love.
- Follow The Sullengers and Chirp Chirp Designs on Instagram.
- Like the photo of the sign shown above on The Sullengers Instagram account.
- Comment on the same photo tagging two friends. Each other friend tagged will be an extra entry.
The winner will be announced Saturday night at 10am MST. Good luck!