I've never been one who has had a "hero." Of course there are people I look up to, with qualities that I admire, but never someone who could be called a hero for me. But I do admire Marjorie Pay Hinckley.
Marjorie Hinckley is the wife of the current president of the Mormon Church. Sister Hinckley died last April. In the last few years, three books were published in her name. None of them were technically written and put together by her, but they were compiled and edited by her daughters and sons.
The first one to be published was Glimpses into the Life and Heart of Marjorie Pay Hinckley and was published in 1999. It is mostly filled with friends' and family's remembrances of Sister Hicnkley and how she influenced their lives. I read this book in 2001 when I had a 1-year-old and a baby that was a few months old. It was a major factor in my surviving those months. I loved the chapters on humor and motherhood. When I would get bogged down with my little ones, I could read this book and feel like I would be just fine. I still feel like this today, even though things are much easier now.
I also enjoyed her other two books, Small and Simple Things and Letters. Letters came out recently and was interesting to read because it filled her life out a bit.
But the thing I love most about Sister Hinckley is her love for learning. She enrolled in college on the same day that her father lost his job at the beginning of the Depression. The next day, she withdrew from college and got a job to help support her family. She never was able to go back to college. She is quoted on page 97 of Glimpses as saying, "Since college was not an option, I decided, well, if this is my life, I'd better educate myself. And I worked hard at it. I read and read and read."
I was lucky enough to go to college and get my bachelors degree before we had children, since I only had a semester left at BYU when we got married. I wish that I could continue and get a masters degree, but there isn't a practical way to do it right now. Reading this quote by Sister Hickley reminds me that I don't have to have formal education to learn. I can read what I want to and learn as much as I choose. It won't be anytime soon that I will have the official degree. I may not ever be able to return to school to do a masters. But I can take the time to keep on learning despite that.
One of the final things President Hinckley said about his wife was, "Your voracious appetite for reading and your relentless pursuit of knowledge have kept you alert and refreshing throughout a long and fruitful life." I think that is a goal worth pursuing.