I love art and particularly the masterpieces.
Looking at a beautiful oil painting or sculpture is inspiring and uplifting. One of my favorite pieces of fine art is the Pietà by Michelangelo. He was a master. To me it is remarkable that he could fashion sheer rock to look so graceful and delicate—perhaps even elegant—while at the same time, capturing sorrow amid serenity with size, placement, and arrangement.
Reading a well-written piece of literature can change your life. Short, concise writing is much more difficult to compose than wordy, lengthy prose. We have wonderful examples all around us. I treasure the songs my son writes. He captures emotions we have always been trying to put into words then sets them to music. You can think of many more of your own.
Another allegory is one cannot criticize molten ore because it is not shiny, strong, and useful. Until going through the smelting process, ore does not have the characteristics and qualities we seek. We cannot criticize its current state because it has not yet become the very thing for which it is destined—steel. Life is the process and exaltation is the destination, and our capacity and worth remain intact despite life’s obstacles. We face challenges and think our worth is diminished. It is not.
A symphony starts with a single note. I believe your capacity and worth is of infinite value, because the orchestration of our lives has not been left to chance or good fortune or even ability. The Conductor of the symphony of our lives is Jesus Christ, the literal Son of God. If we will but let him, he will turn our weaknesses into our finest features. The Great Plan of Happiness is great because it is perfect and accounts for every need. And because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, through our obedience, we have the chance to become like unto our Father in Heaven. Moroni 7:48.
Figuratively speaking, you may feel like an acorn now, but your destiny is to become an oak tree. We will grow into the people we hope to become and achieve all the qualities for which we long. The righteous intents of our hearts will all be fulfilled. Our Conductor is a master at creating harmony, life, love, and joy. We can become experts by following him, but even then a plan has been established so that we can recover when we fall. I’ll say it again; he is an expert at creating harmony.
If you are reading this and thinking “I know this is well meaning and all, but he is talking about others. This doesn’t apply to me. I am an exception.” You think you can’t, you won’t, you aren’t. Well, if you don’t believe me, let’s see what others are saying:
Gordon B. Hinckley – A Chosen Generation
I have great confidence in our young people as a whole. I regard you as the finest generation in the history of the Church.
David Bednar – Strength to become perfect
The enabling power of the Atonement strengthens us to do and be good and serve beyond our own individual desire and natural capacity.
Jeffrey Holland – You’re the greatest
We think you’re the greatest. We are immensely proud of you…Be faithful. Be courageous. Be worthy. Be clean…What we are talking about is how terrific you are and how terrific your life can be if you will live the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Sherry Dew – You Were Born to Lead
A common theme of patriarchal blessings given to men and women your age is that you were sent now because our Father’s most trustworthy children would be needed in the final, decisive battle for righteousness. That is who you are, and it is who you have always been.
Jesus Christ – Embrace the Gift
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16
What every spouse wants, what every family, household, and nation needs are people who appreciate and understand the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ in the midst of hardship. Our capacity to change the world and improve the lives of mankind starts with helping us all recognize our value and break through the distractions that tell us differently, motivating those who hear the message to embrace it and create harmony.
Someday we will look back on the hardships that we face and life’s seemingly endless difficulties, and we will see an intricate web of plans to build, strengthen, and help us become the people we are really meant to be. It’s much bigger than us alone. Each of us represents a kingdom.
During this journey, we can’t criticize the imperfections of our earlier days, because it was on their backs that we build the achievements that we will attain and those we now enjoy.
Our flaws are given to us so that we can grow from the process of overcoming our weaknesses and revel in appreciation and glory that comes only through the Son–which is the great plan of happiness!
When I was a young man and attended youth conference or Education Week, we were told that we had a great work to do. Now I know why. We have been called to parent the greatest generation of young people that the world has ever known.
From President George Q. Cannon: “When we went forth into the waters of baptism and covenanted with our Father in Heaven to serve Him and keep His commandments, He bound Himself also by covenant to us that He would never desert us, never leave us to ourselves, never forget us, that in the midst of trials and hardships, when everything was arrayed against us, He would be near us and would sustain us.”
We are not the composer of our destiny, He is.
You too are a work of art. His masterpiece.
The Old Violin
The Touch of the Masters Hand
‘Twas battered and scarred,
And the auctioneer thought it
hardly worth his while
To waste his time on the old violin,
but he held it up with a smile.
“What am I bid, good people”, he cried,
“Who starts the bidding for me?”
“One dollar, one dollar, Do I hear two?”
“Two dollars, who makes it three?”
“Three dollars once, three dollars twice, going for three,”
From the room far back a gray bearded man
Came forward and picked up the bow,
Then wiping the dust from the old violin
And tightening up the strings,
He played a melody, pure and sweet
As sweet as the angel sings.
The music ceased and the auctioneer
With a voice that was quiet and low,
Said “What now am I bid for this old violin?”
As he held it aloft with its’ bow.
“One thousand, one thousand, Do I hear two?”
“Two thousand, Who makes it three?”
“Three thousand once, three thousand twice,
Going and gone”, said he.
The audience cheered,
But some of them cried,
“We just don’t understand.”
“What changed its’ worth?”
Swift came the reply.
“The Touch of the Masters Hand.”
“And many a man with life out of tune
All battered and bruised with hardship
Is auctioned cheap to a thoughtless crowd
Much like that old violin
A mess of pottage, a glass of wine,
A game and he travels on.
He is going once, he is going twice,
He is going and almost gone.
But the Master comes,
And the foolish crowd never can quite understand,
The worth of a soul and the change that is wrought
By the Touch of the Masters’ Hand.
– by Myra Brooks Welch
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.