The Tears That Fell From Their Voices


I once met with a 14-year-old girl from my church per her request. The week prior she and I had both attended a church youth conference far from the streets of the inner city in which she lived. As we sat and talked her faced was filled with light as she related to me the joy she had felt on the trip and the beauty of the “new” world which she had experienced. Her voice was filled with the typical enthusiasm that comes with youthfulness. Her smiling face radiated all the hopes and dreams that we all have for our lives.

Then in a moment, the smile disappeared, the voice dropped, and her head bowed. I thought she might start to cry, but she didn’t. I watched as she slowly raised her head, and as her eyes met mine, she said, “It was so wonderful. I want to go back and feel that way. I don’t want to go back to my life.” And although the tears didn’t form in her eyes or fall from her cheeks, I could hear the tears in her voice. At that moment I felt helpless as to the words I might say to ease her pain and fear. I offered words of comfort but as she departed I couldn’t help but feel the emptiness of it all. After she left I sat at my desk for a long time contemplating her plight. And although that conversation occurred over fifteen years ago, the memory of her anguish has stayed with me.

Over the years I have held conversations with many young people who had tears in their voices. I wish I could say that I had answers for them and that somehow I was able to ease their pain. Perhaps in a small way I was able to do so. But I am haunted by the hopelessness of their thoughts, and the dry tears that fell from their voices. For them I wanted a life full of hope and joy, yet I knew that for many their lives would not be what both they and I so desired. Many came from homes where love had long since been bolted out by their front door.

This life has never been one of fairness. It was created and designed as a testing ground. Knowing that doesn’t necessarily sooth the soul of those who suffer. But, I have great hope in the promises of the Savior spoken of by Peter, when he wrote:

“Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness.”

We look for Him, our Savior, to return again and for the fulfillment of his words when he taught:

“Blessed be ye poor; for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.” (Luke 6:20-21)

I look forward to that day! It will be a day when the tears in their voices will be those of joy!



Why God Doesn’t Send Me His Angels! (He Gave Me Sisters Instead!)


For most of us there comes a time when we seek divine help from our God above. We pray for His guidance and daily affirmation.  We seek for his mercy and many times for His love and for relief. Could He just spare an Angel from above who can come and relieve us from all of our cares!

And while I still find myself asking for divine intervention from time to time. I have discovered through experience that the Angels I so desperately desire, have already been dispatched on my behalf. Some even before my birth.  A loving Father sent them to help me throughout my life.

I have discovered that God doesn’t send me His Angels when so often I ask.  He saves them for others who have not been so richly blessed. No need to send them to me and it’s not because he doesn’t love me.  On the contrary! No, He blessed me greater…he gave me sisters. What greater gift can a man have than cherubic sisters who care for and love their less angelic brothers.

So when next I find myself asking for help and that He dispatch one of His helpers, I will change my plea and ask that He send them to another who hasn’t been blessed with one of His earthly Angels.

So to sisters all over, perhaps us brothers don’t always show our appreciation on a regular basis, or perhaps not at all. But speaking for brothers everywhere may I thank you for your love, devotion and Christlike service to your lesser siblings. May you know that your service to us is of a heavenly nature and that we count you as one of the greatest blessings in our lives and that oft times we don’t even plead with the Lord for His angels to come. Because we know that He gave us sisters instead! (And your just a phone call away!)





Turn Around And They Are Gone!


Recently I was going through some old photo albums.  One photo caught my then 20-year old daughter and I dancing with her face towards the camera. As I looked at her face I could see my little girl of long ago who used to ride my back as I gave her ‘horsey’ rides. Time is a funny thing, sometimes it seems to go so slow and at other times it seems to go so quickly. Vacations always seem to go by in a flash, while school, work and unpleasant tasks seem to drag. I am reminded of a commercial years ago that was put out by Kodak. In it they would flash pictures of a man swinging his little girl around by her arms as they aged. In the background played a song entitled “Turn Around” with these words:

Where are you going, my little one, little one,

Where are you going, my baby, my own?

Turn around and you’re two,

Turn around and you’re four,

Turn around and you’re a young girl going out of my door.

Turn around, turn around,

Turn around and you’re a young girl going out of my door.


Where are you going, my little one, little one,

Little dirndls and petticoats, where have you gone?

Turn around and you’re tiny,

Turn around and you’re grown,

Turn around and you’re a young wife with babes of your own.

Turn around, turn around,

Turn around and you’re a young wife with babes of your own.

(Notes: by Harry Belafonte, Malvina Reynolds and Alan Greene. Published by Clara Music Publishing Corporation (ASCAP). Administered by Next Decade Entertainment, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Copyright 1957)


Reflecting on the picture of my daughter and I dancing,  I am reminded that life is very short. “Turn around” and a girl becomes a young lady, “turn around” and she becomes a young mother. Depending on how you live your life, time can be an enemy or it can be your friend. Like a football game, if you are ahead when the two-minute warning is given you are happy. But time is the enemy to those who are losing the game. Such is the game of life. Let us use time wisely and make each day count in our quest to become a more Christlike person. Then, as the years advance we can look through the albums of our life with joy as we are reminded of the type life we have lived.

I close with the words of Thomas Monson, printed in the November, 2000 issue of the Ensign.

“Time passes quickly. Many parents say that it seems like yesterday that their children were born. Now those children are grown, perhaps with children of their own. “Where did the years go?” they ask. We cannot call back time that is past, we cannot stop time that now is, and we cannot experience the future in our present state. Time is a gift, a treasure not to be put aside for the future but to be used wisely in the present.”


“I Don’t Think You Know How Much I Love You!”


Several years ago my family had a special evening to celebrate the life of my older brother who was dying of a terminal disease.  He seemed to enjoy the evening although it was evident to me that he was in pain.  For me, it was a wonderful evening that testified of the love and support that a family has for each of its members. Within a month of our gathering he passed to the other side of the veil.

All of us have times in our lives that can become challenging,  and having the support of your family is of great comfort. I along with a number of my siblings were able to go with my brother to the Huntsman Cancer center when he started his Chemotherapy treatments.

Another brother and I both thought how scary it would be to enter the unknown but he and I both felt that with loved ones by your side,  things are more manageable.  We were both happy that we flew out to see, and be with our older brother in his time of suffering. As we ate in the hospital cafeteria together that day,  my ill brother cried tears of gratitude for having loving brothers and sisters who would rally around him.  My healthy brother related to me that shortly thereafter,  he had some alone time with my older brother.  He told my dying brother, “I don’t think you know how much I love you!” His response back of, “Yes I do, because I have the same love for you!,” captures all there is to know about the beauty and majesty of brotherly love.

Robert D. Hales once said:

“Any of us may experience a spouse, a child, a parent, or a member of our extended family suffering in one way or another—mentally, physically, emotionally, or spiritually—and we may experience these tribulations ourselves at times. In short, mortality is not easy. Each family has its own special circumstances. But the gospel of Jesus Christ addresses every challenge—which is why we must teach it to our children. (“With All the Feeling of a Tender Parent: A Message of Hope to Families,” Liahona, May 2004, 88–91)

The gospel of Jesus Christ does address every challenge. I miss my brother, as well as other family members who have passed on.  But I have full faith that one day a heavenly family reunion will occur, and we will laugh as we share the memories of life and all the beauty that came with it.




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