quiet desperation

In Quiet Desperation!


“Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.”

(Henry David Thoreau)

Almost all of us have had a time in our life when we have felt, well…desperate! And who hasn’t felt a time when that desperation hasn’t been in the quiet of our own minds. Knowing that others experience similar feelings can serve as an encouragement to each of us that life holds moments of great joy, and also moments of great sorrow for all. Yet, when those ‘moments’ of quiet desperation turn to months and months to years, one could be left to lament that their ‘song’ of joy has been left on a permanent ‘mute’ mode.

In those ‘desperate’ times in my life, surprisingly I have taken comfort in a statement of the Lord spoken to Adam upon his expulsion from the garden.

“…cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life…In the sweat of thy face, shall thy eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it thou wast taken: for dust thou art: and unto dust thou shalt return. “ (Gen. 3:17, 19)

The reason I have taken comfort in this scripture is that it gives me assurance that this life, with all of its thorns and thistles, has a purpose and that God designed this world as a testing ground.  It gives me confidence that what I have to gain from my earthly life is worth it in the end because I can ‘become’ like Him who I worship if I am faithful. God himself said:

“Behold, the man is become as one of us to know good and evil.” (Gen. 3:22)

Leading a life of quiet desperation should never be if we understand the purpose of this earthly life. In those quiet dark moments, that we all experience, or will experience, the ray of the gospel ‘Son’ can bring light to our souls and we can take comfort in knowing who is in charge. We can know that our lives are full of purpose and that this life is a testing ground on how to become like Him.  Indeed, God’s glory is to bring to past the immortality and eternal life of man. (Moses 1:39)

So let  out that song that, as Thoreau claims,  is ‘still in us!’ Let us sing praises to our Creator, our Master and our Father! In so doing, our melody of praise will not only drive out the ‘desperation’ we feel, but it will also bless the lives of  others who so desperately need to hear our song.


Family Praying Before Dinner ca. 2001

Add A FifthTo Our Thanksgiving Meal!


Thanksgiving has always been a favorite holiday of mine. It usually involves the four “F’s”; family, friends, football, and food. Who could ask for more? Often lost though, is the purpose of the holiday.

The first American Thanksgiving was celebrated in 1621, to commemorate the harvest reaped by the Plymouth Colony after a harsh winter. In that year Governor William Bradford proclaimed a day of thanksgiving. The colonists celebrated it as a traditional English harvest feast, to which they invited the local Wampanoag Indians.

However, it wasn’t until 1789 that President George Washington declared it an official holiday. But like Christmas, I find myself lost in the traditions and trappings of the celebration, often forgetting its real purpose. I am sure that I will do so again this year.   In the Doctrine and Covenants, section fifty-nine, the Lord says;

“And inasmuch as ye do these things with thanksgiving, with cheerful hearts and countenances… with a glad heart and a cheerful countenance— Verily I say, that inasmuch as ye do this, the fulness of the earth is yours, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and that which climbeth upon the trees and walketh upon the earth; Yea, and the herb, and the good things which come of the earth, whether for food or for raiment, or for houses, or for barns, or for orchards, or for gardens, or for vineyards; Yea, all things which come of the earth, in the season thereof, are made for the benefit and the use of man, both to please the eye and to gladden the heart; Yea, for food and for raiment, for taste and for smell, to strengthen the body and to enliven the soul. And it pleaseth God that he hath given all these things unto man; for unto this end were they made to be used, with judgment, not to excess, neither by extortion. And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments”, (vs. 15-21).

So while enjoying the four “F’s” this Thanksgiving, let us not disappoint the Lord. Let us take a moment to reflect on our many blessings and remember to add the fifth “F” to our day.  That of giving thanks through prayer to our “Father” above. It is He who makes the other four “F”s possible!


The Blessing Of New Daughters


They make me laugh, they put up with my jokes, they humor me.  Maybe it is just because I am their father-in-law and they want to keep peace but I like to think they feel my affection and really do enjoy being with me. I know that I really enjoy being with them! I’m so grateful for them. I know every parent worries and desires that their son will find a girl who will make him happy and be the love of their life. One of the most profound decisions a man can make in this life is the selection of a mate who will become a mother to his children, wife and hopefully his best friend. Equally blessed is the father who watches as his sons take new daughters into his family who are loved and who give love in return.

Daughter In Law

As we watched our young son grow

The nagging question we yearned to know

Was who he’d have with him at his side

His companion in life until he died


We’d heard so many dreadful tales

Of marriage that quickly failed

Divorces, annulments and other blights

We endured many sleepless nights


When our boy went out on dates

We’d wonder, is this the one to be his mate?

As time went on, the girls came and went

But none of them, for him, were meant


Alas, when we’d almost lost all hope

Of seeing our son tie the rope

He told us proudly he’d found the one

A beautiful girl and so much fun


And when we met her, such a delight

We were filled with joy at first sight

Our darkest fears finally laid to rest

Our son had ended his long quest


So now we thank the Lord above

For bringing us a new daughter to love

And blessing our son with a devoted wife

To walk with him the rest of his life

(by William Manchee)

What a wonderful  blessing it is to have daughter-in-laws come into your life who treat you as they would their own family. This is what ‘extension’ of love is all about.  This is what the women meant when they praised Ruth by telling her mother-in-law, Naomi:

“…for thy daughter in law, which loveth thee, which is better to thee than seven sons…” (Ruth 4:15)

What a great blessing it is to extend the tent of your family so that others can enter therein. What a blessing new daughters can bring into your life!


god_watches_over us

In The Day Of Our Trouble


There is plenty of good counsel to be found in the scriptures. Perhaps that is why the prophets are constantly encouraging us to read them . “The scriptures are like a written “recording” of the “voice” of the Lord—a voice we feel in our hearts more than we hear with our ears. As we study the written word of God, we learn to hear His voice in the words we read. As we return repeatedly to the holy scriptures, we gain experience and confidence in hearing and feeling His voice.” (David A. Bednar, “How can I learn more when I read the scriptures?,” Friend, Apr 2009, 17).

Sometimes the teachings found in the scriptures change, according to our willingness to learn and the circumstances presented. I was reading in the scriptures the other day when I came across these verses:

“They were slow to hearken unto the voice of the Lord their God; therefore, the Lord their God is slow to hearken unto their prayers, to answer them in the day of their trouble. In the day of their peace they esteemed lightly my counsel; but, in the day of their trouble, of necessity they feel after me. Verily I say unto you, notwithstanding their sins, my bowels are filled with compassion towards them. I will not utterly cast them off; and in the day of wrath I will remember mercy.”  (D&C 101:7-9).

This scripture reminds me that, over the years,  I have often met with individuals who have discarded the counsel of the Lord. Then the consequences of their acts come upon them. Sometimes this takes years. But when that day comes they plead with the Lord to remove those consequences…immediately! It is a common trait we all hold.  At times when I examine my own life I realize that  I too,  on occasion, have “esteemed lightly” the counsel of the Lord. But, “in the day of my trouble”, I feel after the Lord, wanting mercy and immediate relief.

I am confident that the Lord loves His children and that His mercy is always there, and that He remembers us. That is comforting! I also know that I wouldn’t be a good earthly father if I eliminated all of my children’s problems and the consequences of their bad decisions. No growth of character would ensue. I can then understand why the Lord is slow to come to my rescue on occasion. I don’t like it, but I understand it is for my welfare.

The best thing to do is to listen to the counsel when it is first given so that we can avoid the consequences of sin or bad decisions. However, we all make mistakes. So it is comforting to know that, despite our weaknesses, the Lord’s “bowels are filled with compassion” and He will not “cast us off.”

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