I know. With summer ending and fall in full swing, the title of this article sounds like it was published several months late, but we all know things often take longer than expected. We have been telling my mother-in-law to throw away those boxes of paraphernalia bumping around in her garage for several years now. I would smile to myself when I saw the old things she was keeping…then I helped my wife with a little spring cleaning of our own.

We were straightening up the bedrooms and preparing a craft room upstairs. I carried mattresses, made beds, situated stacking units, and emptied the hallway. We got a lot done. All was going well when my wife said she had some things I needed to bring up from the basement—destined for DI. “No problem,” I called to her. We were really making headway. I went downstairs to get the junk and carry it up.

When I entered the room where she was working, I found my stereo and speaker system had been placed in the middle of the room.

packed boxes“We can’t get rid of this,” I said half serious. I had tried in vain to get my children to use this system, and I was seriously thinking I could still convince my youngest. I mean it has an Acoustic Controlled Amplifier AX401 with direct coupled power stages. Admittedly, the Stereo Cassette Deck is not really practical, but even that has a high density head and dual motor transport mechanism. Same thing goes for the Automatic Stereo Turn Table system. But let’s not forget that it does include a Quartz Lock Digital Synthesizer with 30 station preset and FM Stereo/AM-FM radio tuner. Plus, it has a 5-disc cd player with 4 times oversampling digital filter. My wife just rolled her eyes.

Desperate for someone to understand, I said “At least she could use the cd player.” Calmly my wife responded “She doesn’t own cds anymore.” Sheepishly, I carried the components upstairs. The stereo cabinet was a little awkward and heavy, so I asked my daughter to help me lift it into the back of the car. I explained that in my day this was the optimal music system. And it seems somebody should want it. I thought of my brothers and sisters and their children. “Do you think any of your cousins would like this?” I asked my daughter. She pulled out her earbuds and asked “What did you say dad?”

At that moment I thought of my sweet mother-in-law and the boxes in her garage. I realized she was probably keeping those things so she could give them to us and her grandchildren someday. And it’s not that easy for any of us to give up things even when they are out-of-date and impractical.

And I wondered how many other little habits or debaucheries we hold on to when we really ought to rid ourselves of these vices and cleanse the inner vessel for good. It can creep up on us. It happens to all of us. We are less patient, understanding, and loving than we should be. Our favorite habits and comfortable shortcomings are hard to abandon. Yet we can all be more committed, obedient, kind, and thoughtful. We should rid ourselves from our favorite behaviors that are less than admirable and replace them with upstanding characteristics that mimic our example.

It makes perfect sense to all of us when we are talking about technology. It should make just as much sense when we are talking about habits.

Mormon men

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I love the parable of the Prodigal Son. Sometimes, what is really important and relevant in our lives is pushed to the side in preference to less important habits, responsibilities, or selfish desires. It has application in many people’s lives. We can all relate to it. Regardless, the solution is the same.

Another scripture story I really enjoy occurs when the crowds surrounding the Savior make him somewhat inaccessible.  Friends of a man stricken with palsy must lower him through the roof into the chamber where Jesus is. Though his words were spoken to men long ago, his message is for all of us.

Access to the Lord and gospel of Jesus Christ can free us from the vices of our day and provide power, help, and forgiveness.

“Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee.” Psalms 55:22

“And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.” Matthew 19:14

“Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” 1 Timothy 4:12

“And thus he was baptized, and the Spirit of God descended upon him, and thus he was born of the Spirit, and became quickened in the inner man.” Moses 6:65

“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20

“I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6

About Walter Penning
In 1989, Walter Penning formed a consultancy based in Salt Lake City and empowered his clients by streamlining processes and building a loyal, lifetime customer base with great customer service. His true passion is found in his family. He says the best decision he ever made was to marry his sweetheart and have children. The wonderful family she has given him and her constant love, support, and patience amid life's challenges is his panacea.

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