When I was a little kid, Donny Osmond was popular. I didn’t really like him at the time—admittedly, it wasn’t really the cool thing for a youngster of my gender to do—but the girls went nuts over him. I remember covertly watching the Donny and Marie Show occasionally. I must have been 9 or 10 then. Little did I know at the time that my future wife was hanging on his every word and every song. He was ultimately responsible, I imagine, for her willingness to let the missionaries in when they knocked on her family’s door in 1976. For that reason, my attitude toward Donny and Marie has changed considerably. I will always be in their debt.
Much later we arranged a little surprise getaway to a Donny & Marie Show in Las Vegas. My wife didn’t know about it, and when she found out we were going, she was very excited to say the least. But a memory I still treasure today is when the usher took us down to a front row table right at the edge of the stage. She had no idea and her elation was obvious and tumbled out in surprise and disbelief. That was the best part. We had a great time. I will always remember that experience.
All of you have shared similar choice experiences in your lives, and perhaps when you look back over your life, like me, you ask how can I have been so lucky. I hope so.
In a recent commencement address, Elder Oaks told the graduates
“The kind of joy referred to in the scriptures is not the happiness we experience in temporary rushes of pleasure such as we enjoy in today’s recognition. The joy that is the purpose of our existence is intense and enduring. We may properly say it is eternal.”
My daughter gave a beautiful talk in sacrament meeting recently regarding the Atonement of Jesus Christ enabling eternal families. She noted “Because Christ is already victorious we can know the outcome of our lives.”
Because of the mission of Jesus Christ, we can all live confidently in this life and anticipate a future that will produce everlasting elation with those we love most if we will but follow Him. I expect our emotions will tumble out in surprise, disbelief, and appreciation in that day, as well. Your reward now and in the future is better than anything you could possibly imagine.
That’s the kind of happiness available to you Because of Him especially in the midst of hardship.
My husband and I began volunteering as ordinance workers at the Las Vegas temple after it opened in December 1989. We worked late one night and by the time we got home, he wasn’t feeling well. By Sunday evening he was continuing to decline. I decided to call his doctor. He told us to go to the hospital where he later passed away with our family at his side.
I continued working at the temple for another 15 years. I was more difficult to go alone, but I know it was a blessing in my life. Though I struggled with the aches and pains of old age, the moment I walked inside the temple, they all seemed to disappear. My back felt better, my problems went away, and a feeling of calm came over me. I knew I was in a celestial place. I still enjoy attending the temple.
She concludes her journal “I know that serving in the temple and in the church has made me a better, happier person.”
Because of Jesus Christ, we can all anticipate a more abundant life.
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.