“Does the Journey Seem Long?” Ensign, Aug. 1972, 45–46
Hymn No. 245 isn’t sung as often as it ought to be. But once one has read the words and sung them with meaning, they lodge themselves indelibly upon the singer’s heart and he finds himself returning again and again to their phrases.
President Smith liked to write his own poetry—little verses about animals, about life and family, and above all, about the gospel. Several such poems have been put to music. According to President Smith, he wrote these words while riding on a train to Arizona to fulfill a Church assignment. Having traveled far, long, and wide as an apostle in this dispensation, perhaps his own experience turned him to the question, Does the journey seem long? Whatever the motivation, he took the occasion and thoughts and wrote the following words, which reflect his great empathy and concern for others, his purity of soul, and his understanding of the short duration yet eternal significance of temporal life:
Does the journey seem long,
The path rugged and steep?
Are there briars and thorns on the way?
Do sharp stones cut your feet
As you struggle to rise
To the heights through the heat of the day?
Is your heart faint and sad,
Your soul weary within,
As you toil ’neath your burden of care?
Does the load heavy seem
You are forced now to lift?
Is there no one your burden to share?
Are you weighed down with grief,
Is there pain in your breast,
As you wearily journey along?
Are you looking behind
To the valley below?
Do you wish you were back in the throng?
Let your heart be not faint
Now the journey’s begun;
There is One who still beckons to you.
Look upward in gladness
And take hold of his hand,
He will lead you to heights that are new,
A land holy and pure
Where all trouble doth end,
And your life shall be free from all sin,
Where no tears shall be shed
For no sorrows remain;
Take his hand and with him enter in.