Spirituality: The Power of One


“We don’t receive wisdom; we must discover it for ourselves after a journey that no one can take for us or spare us.”– Proust


Aside: I’m falling way behind on my project, but I’m not giving up. It didn’t help that Alan and I were in a roller durby. More on that at a later date…

Now back to the originally scheduled programming which I started two weeks ago.


Spirituality is the only topic in my project that I haven’t posted about yet. I’ve been waiting for the right thought or moment to grab me.

Yesterday that moment came.

My mom’s ward Relief Society was holding a party to celebrate the organization’s birth, just as many LDS wards do in March. I made arrangements to attend my mom’s ward party because the guest speaker was going to be my teacher from when I was 17 and in Young Women.

Although I will always be grateful for my parents and their raising me as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it was my 17th year that I honestly and truly decided for myself what I believed and have never questioned since. One of the events during that year was Kim. Really, anyone who knows Kim Mortensen knows what I’m talking about when I say that if she’s at all a participant in your life, she’ll make her mark. At yesterday’s celebration, it was apparent that she was doing it again for others in the audience.

I was sure I would shed tears in listening to Kim speak but as soon as she introduced her topic as “The Power of One”, there they came. This phrase–“the power of one”– has had special meaning to me because of a handful of conversations with a woman I knew while living in Kansas. I’m sure she believed in God but she didn’t practice a particular religion. She and I shared insights on movies and music and life. She and her husband never had children, but loved animals and had many. She was in her mid 50’s and wasn’t very keen on being social. In fact, I believe she had pretty severe social anxiety as well as other types of anxiety.

My conversations with my friend weren’t very long, but they are priceless memories now. Her cards and letters to me are treasures. In a way that no one else had, she opened my eyes to the power that one person’s influence or one experience has for good. And since then I haven’t stopped tallying up those people and events in my life. I feel extremely inadequate when I think of thanking those people.

Kim is one of those people.

In her talk at the party, she spoke about how her life had taken her away from the church and how, in the past two years, she has come back to full activity again. I can’t repeat all that she said, mostly because I would jumble it up and it’s her story to tell, but it was incredible. She spoke of the power of moments she remembers during her years of trial or people who said the right thing at just the right time for her to be influenced by them. From her experiences, Kim learned that no matter how unworthy you may feel, you’re never too far from the Savior’s love.

During the years since she was my teacher I have remembered Kim’s lesson on knowing for ourselves that we are daughters of God. And more than anything, I remembered her love for Jesus Christ. I have relied on what I learned from her many times.

The power of one… lesson…, moment…, person…, statement…, memory…, song…, decision…, words read in a book…, sight… you fill in the blank.

When all of those “power of one” experiences in my life are added up, they equal my spirituality. They teach me about who I am meant to be. They teach me of the love of God and my Savior. And then, when I can’t possibly feel more alone–whether I’m in dire need or in mundane moment–I recall the power of those experiences and know I’m not forgotten by the One’s who matter most.

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