The fog rolls in and we try and make something out of a situation we just can’t seem to make sense of. As we try to extricate ourselves from this unsavory position, we become despondent and helpless. That makes sense to us all. We have all experienced some overwhelming hardship like that, but I had this happen to me recently in a very different way.
No, I wasn’t in the harbor engulfed by the mists of the sea or battling the whitecaps and raging surf. It wasn’t smog or the inversion we experience on occasion in mountain valleys. Yet the haze was real and suffocating. The waves of sadness had already enveloped me, but I tried to get ahold of myself. On occasion, the tides return, and I have to refocus my ship. This is uncharted territory for me, but I am learning to tread deep waters.
Nevertheless, I have to move forward. My family is depending on me. You see, my mother passed recently and after the grief, funeral, and burial, we naturally had to take care of her belongings and disperse her things.
My task became a few boxes of papers that someone needed to go through. Several baskets were already arranged with a few possessions in each. The major items were one small wooden box filled with documents and a braided basket of mostly folders.
So I prepared my office for the activity. I emptied my wastebasket and placed my chair in the middle of the room. Tax forms, prescriptions, medical and insurance papers—this was really going well—I expected to be done in no time. Or at least, that’s what I thought. Then I picked up the stack of printed emails. Hmmm. What’s this?
I read thoughts and encouragements sent from my nieces to strengthen and support my mother at the time of my father’s passing. She must have kept these out to read them often. I then perused a letter from my son when he was serving his mission more than a decade ago where he shared his love and support for her from a distance. I learned about projects she had been working on. Mom was always busy making everything she touched more beautiful. That was her calling card. Though I recognized this gift, I wish I had told her more often how much her efforts mean to me and my family. There were articles and notes and recipes and dozens of printed out emails. Mom was a prodigious cook and accomplished baker—her tasty delicacies were known everywhere in the rural community where we lived. I remember going often to the B&B or pantry in town where her mouthwatering treats were always a hit. Pretty soon my office was littered with little stacks of papers, calendars, articles, and pictures meant for each of my siblings, which included sentiments my mother held dear that had come from each of them and many others.
I am really excited to share my findings with my siblings. They too will treasure these few articles and precious memories. We all will continue to revel in her life and enjoy her influence for years to come. She left a personal history and many of my favorite stories are included therein. We will continue to celebrate her life for years to come, gratefully. This task was not really anything like I was expecting.
Well, I am almost done now. My wastebasket is still empty, but my heart is filled to overflowing. She never gave up, and though times were rough and her challenges were suffocating, she stayed true and depended on God. Her faith changed her life and ours—her children, friends, family, and acquaintances.
Those are the kinds of people that make a significant difference in our lives. You know some. I do too. These people breathe life into our families and make us better people. I have made it a sort of pastime to celebrate their lives and enjoy the goodness they emanate. It lifts me and gives me strength every day, especially when times are rough. And there is Someone that has done that for you and for me. He continues to influence our lives today and will do so for eternity.
The really great people we know and love help us to come to appreciate and anticipate the joy we will feel when we are reunited with our families and loved ones for eternity. Because of Him our fondest desires are fulfilled now and for eternity.
I listen to the following video frequently to remind me of the blessed promise of the doctrine of Christ.
In 2 Nephi 31, we learn:
I must speak concerning the doctrine of Christ; wherefore, I shall speak unto you plainly, according to the plainness of my prophesying.
I would that ye should remember that I have spoken unto you concerning that prophet which the Lord showed unto me, that should baptize the Lamb of God, which should take away the sins of the world.
And now, if the Lamb of God, he being holy, should have need to be baptized by water, to fulfil all righteousness, O then, how much more need have we, being unholy, to be baptized, yea, even by water!
And now, I would ask of you, wherein the Lamb of God did fulfil all righteousness in being baptized by water?
Know ye not that he was holy? But notwithstanding he being holy, he showeth unto us the children of men that, according to the flesh he humbleth himself before the Father, and witnesseth unto the Father that he would be obedient unto him in keeping his commandments.
Wherefore, after he was baptized with water the Holy Ghost descended upon him in the form of a dove.
And it showeth unto the children of men the straitness of the path, and the narrowness of the gate, by which they should enter, he having set the example before them.
If ye shall follow the Son, with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy and no deception before God, but with real intent, repenting of your sins, witnessing unto the Father that ye are willing to take upon you the name of Christ, by baptism—yea, by following your Lord and your Savior down into the water, according to his word, behold, then shall ye receive the Holy Ghost.
And now, after ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path, I would ask if all is done? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save.
Wherefore, ye must press forward with steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. And if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.
This is the way; and there is none other way nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God. And now, what shall ye do after ye had entered in by the way?
And then, in 2 Nephi 32:
That after ye have received the Holy Ghost ye could speak with the tongue of angels?
Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Feast upon the words of Christ; they will tell you all things what ye should do.
If ye will enter in by the way, and receive the Holy Ghost, it will show unto you all things what ye should do.
Behold, this is the doctrine of Christ.
So if your ship is sinking, hold on.
Because of the doctrine of Christ, there is hope and happiness for you today and in your future.
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.