What a blessing it is to be able to listen to good music. While mankind has always had talented musicians, only recently has access enabled instant gratification. The recording quality has improved over the years such that today’s digital music has the quality and depth of live productions … almost.
I remember the time when BYU purchased its first Compact Disc juke box. I was working at the Ernest L Wilkinson Center at the time. Music began blasting out of the Cougar Eat, and we wondered if they were having a dance at this of time of day. Upon investigating, we found that the new juke box installed there played compact discs. The quality of sound was superior to anything we had ever experienced before. Cassette tapes were what we used mostly back in those days. And though the convenience was still miraculous to me, the quality was inferior to the new CDs.
There was a time when my son wrote and performed original songs. He was a senior in high school when he began composing music. I am grateful for the CDs he produced. When I listen to them now, it brings back memories of his music and the lives and circumstances of those in our family. At times I would read his lyrics before he put a melody to his tunes. I would try and imagine how these words on a page would evolve into music and imagine the composition that would soon fill our home.
But I was never close. His music was always much better than I could imagine alone. The actual songs were much deeper and fuller than I could comprehend myself. On occasion, I would sit in silence and listen just outside the door as he wrote and performed his songs in the basement bathroom. The tile on the floor and walls provided superior acoustics. These are some of my favorite memories.
It was apparent that I could not sing his songs with the skill and quality he displayed. His talent was far beyond my capacity. I could not play the guitar or piano like he can. But that’s OK. I can enjoy his talents and others’ and revel in his performances. Interestingly it was an emotional experience for me. I would sit on the stairway and weep for joy. How could I be so blessed? His music was not only expressed through verse and song but in the melody of his life.
My family, my wife, and grandchildren demonstrate the lyrics he sang. Their service, goodness, and example brightened others’ circumstances and changed my life and theirs. The harmony of home and family has been my joy. I have been blessed with parents and grandparents that taught me the importance of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the timeless ensemble of family.
My father and mother demonstrated the importance of eternal families and service to fellowmen. Examples near and far have shown me what I have come to know for myself that if God gets his happiness from his family, then that tells me where I should get my happiness. But we are all given a different set of circumstances. Some have beautiful voices and musical talents that astound the rest of us. Some have health and vitality and beauty far beyond our hopes and dreams.
Yet others are confined to wheelchairs or handicapped bodies with less than desirable features. Some families are strong and happy, while others struggle with problems and hardship. We all know people like this, but because of the amazing grace of Jesus Christ, our challenges, hardships, and imperfections will all be healed and our families will be eternal, perfected, and grand.
We often spend so much time primping and grooming and worrying about our physical appearance. We will never achieve the level of quality we desire on our own, but because of Jesus Christ our destiny surpasses our fondest imaginations. I witness that Christ is divine, has risen from the dead, and out of his love for us has overcome every barrier to our return to Heavenly Father. Through him we can experience the true peace and the joy of eternal life.
I know for myself that his teachings are the only way to happiness and peace in this life, for individuals and nations, and to eternal joy in the world to come. All I do and say is in the hope that I might further his cause and help others come to him for the strength to do what’s right to feel his guidance in life.
Because of the amazing grace Jesus Christ we are protected as we serve him. Through the Savior, sins can be overcome and forgiven, and lives changed, and hope restored.
The development we gain from church activity, assignments, serving others, and following the example of the Savior as we keep his commandments allows us to become something we have potential for but wouldn’t otherwise achieve.
Phillips Brooks once made this significant observation “How carefully most men creep into nameless graves, while now and again one or two forget themselves into immortality.”
I know unforgettable men and women like that. They actually live all around me. Mine has been the privilege to rub shoulders with those who have followed the example of the Savior Jesus Christ and placed their interests subservient to others’ welfare. Their stories have changed my life and continue to give me hope and encouragement. Their examples and commitment inspire me as they do many, many others. The music of their lives lifts and builds those around them. Because of the grace of Jesus Christ, our feeble efforts can be exalted far beyond our own capacity if we do our best to follow him and apply the blessing of the Atonement through repentance when we fall short.
Because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we get second chances and have a perfect and beautiful plan of happiness that will result in assured success if we follow him and endure to the end. He is victorious and fulfilled the greatest role in time and eternity as our Savior. Because of him, we can be perfected and reach our potential as children of God.
When Jesus Christ walked the roads of Palestine, he taught men the principles of eternal happiness and encouraged them to follow him. He healed their afflictions and blessed them that they could become something far greater than they could be alone.
And that mission continues in our lives today as we have faith and follow Jesus Christ. Despite the hardships we may face, we are never alone.
Yes. The music we can make because of him will bless us and our posterity for generations to come. As we focus on serving others, our burdens are lightened and our capacity is increased.
Gratefully, we can continue to enjoy the skills, talents, and blessings of others by celebrating the good they do as they follow the example of Jesus Christ and make music that helps and inspires us all.
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.