The following article may seem disjointed. I thought so too when it came, but bear with me for a moment and you will see the seemingly disjointed ideas all fit together — perfectly.
That’s the way my best articles are written. They come to me.
Recently, I was looking at a birthday card my mother gave me from a few years back. No, it’s not my birthday. But the thoughts still warm me, so I position the cards upright in locations where I can read them on occasion and let their messages lift and heal me. Even though she passed some time ago, incredibly, the sentiments are effective and uplifting — especially now. My dad passed years prior to my mom, yet I place my father’s ring on my finger each morning. Every time I do this, I remember him. Seems like a small memorial, I realize, but it helps me reminisce and remember him. And I participate in this small gesture every day.
In a small way, these impressions consistently help me feel closer to my parents by remembering their goodness, and that influence translates into my life and those of my children. It shapes my decisions and directs my life. Imagine that — my mom and dad are still impacting my world every day.
My daughter’s family recently left on a vacation. Our job was to watch their dog, which is not a big deal. This animal is more like a relative. Tosh has been in our family for years. His ‘daddy’ (my son-in-law) is an avid fisherman and my fly-fishing mentor. And though I try to live up to the high water mark of my guide, I find myself trailing quite a bit despite my best efforts. But Tosh hangs back with me and pulls me through the tough areas and frigid river crossings when I need his help most. I seriously don’t think I would have made it on my own. I remember one particular trip where I couldn’t have done it without him. I needed his stability and companionship. That is just a taste of our history.
So this morning, I took Tosh on a walk. He is a giant black Great Dane/Labrador mix. All the little dogs in the neighborhood went nuts as we walked by their homes. Tosh was unaffected and unimpressed. He just kept moving forward. We shortened the route some because when we began walking, the cold air suddenly filled with small flakes of snow that collected on my clothes and along the dog’s back. Since the snow was just beginning to fall and the weather inclement, we shortened our trip a bit. It was really cold. We made it home just in time before the blizzard really set in.
But the snow doesn’t keep my children from their daily jog. Soon my not-quite-two-year-old grandson returned from a run/walk with his parents; his hurried little laugh of relief hinted to me he is really glad to be home in the warmth. I get it. I know what it’s like to face the cold and yearn for the warm and enjoyable comforts of home.
We are all on a trek. Sentiments from our family (on both sides of the veil) and their love motivate us and keep us going despite the hardships that we surely face. We can let the little or large problems in life result in discouragement and adversely affect us or we can brace ourselves, keep moving onward, and surge forward to inspire others in our wake.
When I was at the university, my professors encouraged me to rewrite college papers 20 times before turning them in. That sounded excessive to me years ago. The reality is, it is not excessive at all and is likely a lowball estimate in many cases.
Every time, the paper gets better… of course. And this little mechanism can make the difference between a mediocre draft and an outstanding assignment. A life-changing effort translates into goodness now and throughout our future. Does that simple strategy seem futile? Consider this: have you ever gone to the cupboard to get the brown sugar and found a solid rock instead of the soft, crumbly crystals you were expecting? So have I. My mother had an effective solution: a slice of bread. It turns out that a single slice of bread can reconstitute hardened brown sugar that seems destined for the waste basket. What was stiff and hard becomes soft and pliable and crumbly again — a simple solution.
The right attitude and a little bit of helpful information makes all the difference. How you see and respond to difficulty means everything to the outcome. Do you realize the power in that principle?
I came across a quote from Brigham Young recently that I immediately knew I wanted to share with you.
“We talk about our trials and troubles here in this life; but suppose that you could see yourselves thousands and millions of years after you have proved faithful to your religion during the few short years in this time, and have obtained eternal salvation and a crown of glory in the presence of God? Then look back upon your lives here, and see the losses, crosses, and disappointments, the sorrows … ; you would be constrained to exclaim, ‘but what of all that? Those things were but for a moment, and we are now here. We have been faithful during a few moments in our mortality, and now we enjoy eternal life and glory, with power to progress in all the boundless knowledge and through the countless stages of progression, enjoying the smiles and approbation of our Father and God and of Jesus Christ our elder brother.”
Don’t let life’s distractions eclipse heaven’s light. We can grow and learn from life’s trials.
If you need help to envision your possibilities, 2020 is a great year to adjust your gospel glasses and realize their influence in your life and future possibilities, then make them happen.
Perfection is not the goal of this life. Humility is.
When we gauge our performance based on the expectation of a pristine performance, no wonder we get discouraged. Everybody needs help through this life. Salvation is an individual matter, but exaltation is a family matter. None of us can do it on our own.
But the great plan of happiness achieves both — perfectly.
“There is none other name given under heaven save it be this Jesus Christ . . . whereby man can be saved” – 2 Nephi 25:20.
Our daily and weekly rituals help us feel closer to our heavenly parents and the Savior Jesus Christ by remembering Their goodness, and that influence translates into our lives every day.
We need the help and compassion of Jesus Christ to get us through our struggles in life and enable us to ultimately return and live in the countless stages of progression resulting in eternal salvation in the presence of God, until at last we are complete.
Stability and companionship, help, comfort and self-esteem are but a few of the outcomes.
The gospel of Jesus Christ is the perfect solution. Period.
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.