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Love Is A Song That Never Ends

TheDiscipleMD

I recently became aquainted with a man who was involved in a tragic motorcyle accident.  It left him paralyzed from the chest down.  This man who was once so robust, depite being in his mid-sixties, is now confined to a wheelchair and spends much of his day in visiting hospitals  and recieiving medical care at home. I marvel at the courage and resilancy of this man or anyone, for that matter,  who can overcome the temptation to cry, “Wo is me,” while they sink into a great depression of mind and spirit.  His story reminded me of a conversation I had many years ago with a good friend who had been striken in his fifties with a debilitating disease.  His spirit of joy and courage in his time of pain gave me great comfort and strenghtened my faith in the eternal plan of salvation.  As I lamented his situation and gave him my sympathy he said, “Well, we all die of something. It is all part of the plan.”  He said it without hesitation and it wasn’t a canned response to my words of encouragement. He was simply reminded me of a fact that He knew to be true and one that I needed to be reminded of.

I think one of the eternal beauties of this life is the belief that love is eternal and that it does not die with the mortal body. “We all die of something” is a true statement when it comes to mortality but my belief is like the thought expressed from the movie Bambi.

Love is a song that never ends

Life may be swift and fleeting

Hope may die yet love’s beautiful music

Comes each day like the dawn

That dawn has been provided, for eternity, by the Savior, who is the author of love. I believe it with all my heart and the thought of eternal love, moves me upward and forward with a desire to develop it, with my wife, my children and all mankind.

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Is Our Spouse Half-Empty or Half-Full?

TheDiscipleMD

A woman once told me that she loved the fact that her husband was a take-charge kinda guy, but hated that he was…well…a take charge kinda guy! I think what she was really trying to tell me was she both loved and hated aspects of that attribute. And if we examine almost everyone, including ourselves, we will probably find that there is a plus and minus side to almost all human characteristics. So many people love someone who is ‘laid back,’ but aren’t so fond of that trait when they want something done…right now! On the other hand someone who is intense really gets things done, which we love, but their intensity has a tendency to drive us crazy as they pick at everything.

The other day my wife told me that I ‘never’ put back my cologne to where I get it. I replied that she was wrong. I told her I probably put it back 80% of the time but she insisted that I was incorrect. When she showed me where it was supposed to be put, I realized that I was putting it back, close to, but not exactly to the spot it was previously at. I love so much that my wife is very particular about the order of the house and almost always has it in tip top shape, but her intensity on the matter sometimes causes me headaches. Later that day she called me on the phone laughing because it was clear that her definition of ‘putting something back in place’ wasn’t close to mine. On her part, she has learned to accept my excuse of ‘I’m a boy’ whenever we reach an impasse on some of these domestic chores. She lets me be half-full on this issue.

When it comes to our spouses, too often we focus on the half-empty side of the attribute. This, of course, creates conflict and unhappiness. The longer I am married the more I am discovering that I need to be looking at the half-full side of my spouse’s attributes. Why? Because that is the side I love and the side I need to embrace and encourage.

Surely all of us can be seen as half-full, or half-empty by our spouses. Nothing can be gained by looking for the empty half of our beloved, while looking for the full-side will encourage love, harmony, and devotion in our union. We have the choice!

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Raining Smiles

TheDiscipleMD

If you have ever met that person who seems to be happy all the time, one whose constant traveling companion is a smile, you might think they can’t be for real…but for some it can! At least I know it is for my sister. Always bright, ever cheery, welcoming and warm; her life is not devoid of heartache and problems; she just chooses to look for the good that the Lord has given her. That might make some people jealous, or maybe even skeptical. I think it makes my sister a good person and one who chooses to bless the lives of others, as would Christ, with a little sunshine!

All of us descend into the “depths of hell” from time to time and certainly we can all feel sorry for the ways things “might have been” when it comes to our lives, or that of our families. But the true test of our character is how we go about our daily lives when those dreary days fall upon. What I love about my sister, is that she “chooses” to be bright. She chooses to be that “light on the hill” that cannot be hid. (Matt. 5:14) I know she must have moments of sorrow and despair, as we all do, but I think she has faith in the Lord, and in the plan of happiness as designed by our loving Father, which elevates her out of the common quagmire of sorrow. True faith in the eternal nature of families can lift and inspire us to overcome the world. I think that is what I most admire about my sister. She has internalized the council of Dieter Uchtdorf who taught us to “lift where we stand!”

So to you my older sister, on your special day of recognition, I am ever grateful that I can always go to someone who lifts me to a higher state of mind, and who is a builder of people. You have been crowed a queen by the world long ago, but in my mind, that crown pales in comparison to the eternal reward that awaits those like you, who brighten the lives of their fellowman and bring joy and happiness into this lone and dreary world! May this day “rain smiles” on you (as you do for others) and flood your heart with joy for all the happiness you have given to others. I am proud to be your baby brother!

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When Those We ‘Seek’ Don’t Want To Be Found!

TheDiscipleMD

Many years ago, before the advent of “soft” contacts, I wore the old fashion “hard” lens. These lens had a tendency to “pop” out of your eye if you had a sudden blow to the head or when you took them out of your eyes at the end of the day. Once while wrestling with one of my kids on a carpeted living room floor one of my lens was jarred loose. I spent an hour looking for the lost lens.  I searched and searched.  I combed the carpet but to no avail. In desperation I took out the vacuum and vacuumed the entire living room carpet. After so doing, I emptied the contents of the bag onto newspaper.  Much to my joy I found the lens. It was intact and with a little water and cleaning it was as good as new. It’s amazing what you will resort to when you want to find something bad enough.

Another time I was leaning over the bathroom sink at the end of the day and went through the ritual of removing my hard lens. In order to get a hard lens out you had to pull the corner of your eye and blink hard and it would pop out into your waiting hand. On this occasion my lens bounced off the palm of my hand and fell onto the counter top, or so I thought. I looked and looked for the lens on the bathroom counter top but to no avail. I looked in the sink, on the floor and carefully examined and removed every item on the counter top. Still no lens! I was so perplexed. Where could it have gone. It bothered me all night till I got ready for bed. As I started to brush my teeth, I squirted toothpaste on my toothbrush and to my great surprise and joy out came the lens. It had lodged itself on the un-capped toothpaste.  It had formed a perfect “dome” on the exposed toothpaste and was virtually invisible, hidden by the color of the paste. I learned from my “lost lens” experiences, that no matter how hard you search, there is always someplace that you have missed.

I think we are all familiar with the parables of the Savior that parallels my “lost lens.”

“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? (Luke 15:4)

“…what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it? (Luke 15:8)

And of course, found in the same chapter of Luke is the story of the well-known “Prodigal Son”. Now the joy I felt in finding my lens, or the women in finding her lost coin, or even the shepherd with his lamb, pales in comparison to the joy of helping a lost brother or sister come back to the fold of Christ. Luke recorded later in his gospel:

“For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). Our mission is to assist the “Son of man” in seeking and saving those that are lost. This is done in many ways. It is done at home, at work, at church, but more importantly it is done through the constant living of the commandment to “love our neighbor as thyself.”

Sometimes finding the lost one can be discouraging. Note in the parable of the coin and in my example of the lens, both are inanimate objects; or in the case of a sheep, at least a willing participant. In attempting to find lost ones there are some individuals that don’t want to be found, or rescued. In fact when they see you they run as fast as they can away from you. They are “running from the searchers.”  Others are drowning and when you throw them a life ring they respectfully push it away: again and again. Still others will do you physical harm if you attempt to be their personal “savior.”

Moral agency is a gift from God our Father. You cannot force others to be found.  You can only provide help and support.  Out of duty and love we should be searching for the lost ones. But it is out of respect that we should honor those who choose not to return with us to the fold.  Let us be both diligent and respectful in our search.

“And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!” (D&C 18:15). I might add, if no one returns with us at all, we will still have done our duty!

 

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