Do you remember the old days when we gleaned support and comfort from youth conferences and education week? “Old days?” you ask. We still do that, but now technology makes it is so much easier. Others’ words can become our own when we devote the necessary effort to acquire such wisdom.
I was one of the few graduates from Grand County High School. At the time, we were a 2A school and that sized school gave me a lot of opportunities. I am really grateful for that now, but it also meant that our graduating class was rather small when compared to the mammoth 4A and 5A schools of today. Nonetheless, I have a great story of which I am pleased. I am proud of my upbringing.
It happens to all of us in various circumstances. My friend beamed at an art exhibition recently. I saw him stand with pride as he shared his pieces with interested enthusiasts. My son writes music, and I notice the twinkle in his eye when speaking with adoring fans. Of course, many of us magnify our talents and understandably bubble with delight as we contribute to our families. When we are pleased with our work, we are simply inspired to share it. I am content today with this article. Enjoy!
My dad is an optimist. He has written many words that buoy me up and make me feel better about myself and the world. He has a knack for building greatness. That is his calling card.
We stand on the shoulders of those that go before us. Why? It is for the simple reason that because with their help, we attain new levels of achievement—previously unparalleled, at least for us. We are better people because of our predecessors. I know that I am.
One of my favorite pieces of inspiration is from a mentor about whom I have shared on occasion over the years. I did a little research prior to preparing for publishing, and it turns out I have posted this piece or parts of it approximately once each year for the previous five years. I read it often on my own and regularly draw strength from these words. I share it once again in hopes of inspiring you:
“Our Moab seminary teacher and his wife spoke in the Castle Valley branch some time ago. Her talk was on a matter I have long been concerned about. The problem comes into perspective at a sacrament meeting: Adults as well as children give tender loving praise for bishops, teachers, neighbors, and the prophet etc. But too few feel and express it for the Savior. We are not achieving our most important goal until we have established in the hearts of our children and the saints an even greater love for Him.
“Friends may betray us, spouses may leave us, health may fail, and our possessions burn up. But Christ, His promises, understanding, and love will never fail us. With some trials and most tragedies, only this can get us through. When we can take a thankless, demanding calling; give up something we wanted greatly, so we can pay our tithing; or help out someone who has badly hurt us … and say ‘I wouldn’t do that for anyone, except I’ll do it for Christ!’ then the power for good He can have in our lives is becoming a reality. He must be the foundation of our lives.
“I think about the great sacrifices my parents and forbearers made for me, and the wonderful example they set of complete faithfulness to the Savior and His teachings in their lives. Now it’s my turn. I would surely feel amiss to pass on to my posterity something less.
“As sweet to me and powerful in my life as the numerous blessings I have received, nothing brought more peace, and hope, and joy than has come from discovering the marvelous qualities of the Savior and all the gracious, loving and merciful things He has done for me and my loved ones. I cannot in any way repay Him or properly thank Him. But this I can do, and seek with all my heart to do, and that is stand as a witness of the goodness of the Father in giving us such a leader and friend as the Savior.
“I will stand as a 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, and enjoyment of the unspeakable joys of eternal life.
“I know that His teachings are the only way to happiness and peace in this life, for individuals and nations, and to joy in the life 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 right guidance in life and the strength to do what’s right.
“I know that through Christ, sins can be overcome and forgiven, and lives changed, and hope restored.”
This personal perspective to me is akin to reading scripture and has now become part of me. My hope is that my sharing it with you will improve your outlook, understanding, and faith in the one thing that can really make a difference in your life.
Bear with me as I relate one more relatively brief and small anecdote demonstrating our worth in God’s eyes. This is a reminder we can all use before facing the challenges of each day.
The mammoth cathedrals of Europe took hundreds of years to build. That may sound like a long time. It is when compared to other experiences we have in this life, but were we to extract a portion of that time—say ten or even a couple dozen years—the small excerpt relative to the centuries it took to build these structures would seem incomplete or even incidental. Similarly, a snapshot in time of the house that God is building in you and me cannot be ascertained in the few dozen years that we have here on earth.
Why did people extend such significant effort building the great cathedrals of Europe for an end result they would never see?
Reiterating the point stressed by well-known orator Nicole Johnson and her friend Janice acknowledging the impact our role plays in the lives of others, I echo the sentiment that we live our lives for others.
“With admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.”
Because God sees, we do it for Him, and that makes everything we face worth it.
Even during the darkest of times, the Savior’s healing power brings hope.
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.