Open hands begging

When ‘Somebody’s Mother’ Passes Our Way

TheDiscipleMD

My Mother has now been deceased for many years. I was reminded of another woman who passed my way this past year. She stood beside the road on that cold winter day, with a cardboard sign that said, “Need HELP.” I sat in my warm car and looked out at her.  I don’t know how old the woman was but I am sure that she looked older than her years. I thought of all the reasons I shouldn’t help because…well, wasn’t she responsible for her own life.  Should I give to someone who might use ‘my’ money to purchase drugs, alcohol, or something else that wasn’t good for her ? Perhaps I would be doing more harm than good! “Perhaps”, I thought.  There then passed through my mind the words of the immortal poem by Mary Dow Brine:

“The woman was old and ragged and gray

And bent with the chill of the Winter’s day.

The street was wet with a recent snow,

And the woman’s feet were aged and slow.

She stood at the crossing and waited long,

Alone, uncared for, amid the throng

Of human beings who passed her by

Nor heeded the glance of her anxious eye.

“Down the street, with laughter and shout,

Glad in the freedom of ‘school let out,’

Came the boys like a flock of sheep,

Hailing the snow piled white and deep. …

[One] paused beside her and whispered low,

‘I’ll help you cross, if you wish to go? …

‘She’s somebody’s mother, boys, you know,

For all she’s aged and poor and slow.

“‘And I hope some fellow will lend a hand

To help my mother, you understand,

If ever she’s poor and old and gray,

When her own dear boy is far away.’

And ‘somebody’s mother’ bowed low her head

In her home that night, and the prayer she said

Was, ‘God be kind to the noble boy,

Who is somebody’s son, and pride and joy.’”

I was lost in my thoughts as the light turned green and I accelerated away.   I was left pondering about what a true disciple of Christ should do, when somebody’s mother passes their way.

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The Music Of Still Being Brethren In The Spoken Word

TheDiscipleMD

” And now it came to pass that as Alma was journeying… behold, to his astonishment, he met with the sons of Mosiah journeying towards the land of Zarahemla…Alma did rejoice exceedingly to see his brethren; and what added more to his joy, they were still his brethren in the Lord; yea, and they had waxed strong in the knowledge of the truth; for they were men of a sound understanding and they had searched the scriptures diligently…And they had been teaching the word of God… yea, by the power of their words many were brought before the altar of God…” (Alma 17: 1-2, 4)

I felt like Alma several years ago when I visited with one of my favorite companion from my mission days, Lloyd Newell. I met and had dinner with his wife and four children. He has a lovely family! It had been over 30 years since he and I returned home from our full-time missions.  The missionary stories were flying, some true, some were embellished, still others I’m sure, were a figment of our imaginations. He brought out pictures of the mission. One he showed me was a professional photograph of he and I when we served together in the mission office. Such memories! It was a thing of great joy knowing that after several decades we both still held firm testimonies of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It was a reunion of two missionaries that had labored together those many years ago on the streets of Argentina. We talked, we laughed, and we spoke of our heartfelt feelings for the gospel till 2am. He spoke of his experiences working with the brethren through his calling with “Music and the Spoken Word”, which he has been doing for over twenty years. Most don’t know that it is a calling. I spoke of my service in ecclesiastical callings and the joy found therein. We both expressed concern for our families and the state of the world. We both agreed that the gospel is the answer to the problems that plague our society.

Upon leaving we walked together to my car and we told each other to keep in touch. As we walked I was struck by the passage of time. It seemed like yesterday that both he and I were traveling across Argentina together. We were both young and inexperienced, and also excited for the future. I think he would join me in saying that we have found that true happiness is found in obedience to the principles of the restored gospel. By abiding by its precepts family life is enhanced, marriage is improved, and your perspective on this life is enriched. A true fountain of blessings! I am not unique in the experience I had in meeting up with my old missionary companion. I am sure such glorious reunions go on all the time. There is something quite special about reunions that occur when those who had labored hard and long under the hot sun meet for a quite moment of repose. I know I felt that way when Lloyd and I met together that night. I am also confident that such reunions occur on the other side of the veil. The most glorious hopefully will be the moment when one can hear from the lips of the Savior, “Well done they good and faithful servant…enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” (Matthew 25:21)

As I drove away and watched him disappear in my rearview mirror, I reflected upon how our lives had gone different directions, but down the same path. “Therefore they separated themselves one from another, and went forth among them, every man alone, according to the word and power of God which was given unto him.” (Alma 17:17) We had separated ourselves, but it was glorious for us to share after all these years,  the music of still being brethren in the spoken word!

 

Hinckleys

The Girl Of Our Dreams

TheDiscipleMD

One of the most touching and romantic statements I ever heard was spoken by Gordon B. Hinckley at a conference in October of 2004. In his remarks, referring to his then recently deceased wife he said:

“As I held her hand and saw mortal life drain from her fingers, I confess I was overcome. Before I married her, she had been the girl of my dreams… She was my dear companion for more than two-thirds of a century, my equal before the Lord, really my superior. And now in my old age, she has again become the girl of my dreams.” (“The Women In Our Lives”, Oct GC., 2004)

What a wonderful tribute to his wife. I’ve never forgotten the double reference to the fact that his wife was the girl of his dreams as a young man and once again after they were separated by death. His remarks got me to wondering, back then, and now, just how often husbands need to remind their wives that they are “the girl of their dreams?” I don’t know for sure, but the older I get, the clearer the answer has become; ‘Everyday!’ It is important that husbands take the time to express to their wives their love and devotion. For some husbands, that doesn’t come naturally! To express such love is portrayed by some to be a sign of weakness, but it isn’t! On the contrary, a real man recognizes that it is only with the support and love of his wife, that he is able to reach his full God-given potential. In my opinion, wrapping your love in Christian living solidifies and fortifies a marriage relationship.

The greatest and darkest moments of my life, have been shared while in the arms of my wife. While in them, I have gained strength, received comfort, been encouraged, and found the love of God! With her I have been a partner in creating life and forming the sacred unit called the family. Through her my dreams of becoming a husband and a father have been realized!

All of us husbands should remember that our wives need to be reminded on a daily basis that they are “the girl of our dreams.” By so doing we will remind them of why they entrusted to us their hearts, souls and lives! And who knows, with time, we might even become for them, “the boy of their dreams.”

 

singing in the rain 2

Singing Through Rainy Days and Mondays

TheDiscipleMD

 

“Talkin’ to myself and feelin’ old

Sometimes I’d like to quit, nothin’ ever seems to fit

Hangin’ around, nothin’ to do but frown

Rainy days and Mondays always get me down”

Rainy days and Mondays always seem to get us down.  Sometimes when it’s a rainy Monday, we don’t even want to get out of bed. Karen and Richard Carpenter captured the essence of this in their hit song from 1971, entitled appropriately, “Rainy Days and Mondays”. The interesting thing about rainy days is that they are associated with moods, such as; depressing, dark, somber, cold, and even death. One word that we often forget to associate with “rainy days” is life. We all intellectually know that rain gives life but somehow the word, “life”, takes a backseat to the more depressing adjectives. We normally associate life to the word, “sunshine”. So, sunny days are bright, encouraging and uplifting. We feel like getting out and doing something. It motivates us, whereas rainy days seem to make us withdraw. Again, we all know that too much sun makes for a desert or death. Nevertheless, sunshiny days are associated with the positive and rainy days with the negative. However, both kinds of days are not only needed, but are essential to life.

A few months ago a brother got up in Fast and Testimony meeting and bore a strong witness of Jesus Christ and his saving grace. You could tell it was heartfelt and I was moved by his testimony. I also know that he is going through some “rainy” days that are taxing his resources. I spoke with him after the meeting and told him how much I appreciated his words and also shared with him that its interesting how “tough” times, while not desired, are times in which our roots seem to sink deeper into the soil of the gospel. He agreed and we laughed together about the complexity of life.  Most of us don’t like the “rainy days” that fall upon us, but we should remember that without them, there is no “life”. Repeated throughout both religious and secular history is the sad tale of civilizations and individuals who have been under the constant rays of the sun. When given no “rainy” days, their spiritual roots shrivel and eventually die. Too much sunshine eventually leads to death, sometimes physical, almost always spiritual.

So, the next time we feel it is raining all over us, let us remember that without it, there would be no spiritual life. Let’s look at those days in a different way. Let’s not assign it words associated with death, but rather, those that give life.  There is another song called, “Singin in the Rain”.  Perhaps that song best captures how we should look at rainy days that come into our lives. Perhaps we should do as Gene Kelly so eloquently did; sing and dance! In so doing, the falling rain will invigorate our soul and give us the energy and strength to carry on! We should enjoy the sun when it is shinning, but we should never forget the hard lesson learned,  that it is the rainy days that strengthen our roots, and bring countless unrecognized blessings into our lives.  None of us pray for rain to come into our lives, but a wise and loving father knows that without it, we shall surely wither and die.

 

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