December Portland 400

When Your life Hangs In The Balance…What Do You Think Of?

TheDiscipleMD

As our Jeep headed over the embankment, our eyes met! I wondered, as I felt the car start to roll, if this would be the last time our eyes would meet in this life? Was this the way life would end, for me, for my wife, for us both?” (November 21, 2010)

We had just stopped to gas up off Interstate 80 just outside of North Platte, Nebraska. The temperature was around 32 degrees with early morning fog on the ground. My wife and I headed back out on the interstate as dawn was breaking. We had driven only a short distance on the flat straight highway before we came to a bridge. The bridge was no more than 50 yards long. My wife and I were holding a pleasant conversation when all of a sudden, the Jeep I was driving went into a tailspin. Before I knew what was happening the car was sinning out of control. It happened so fast that I didn’t really have time to process the reason I had lost control of my vehicle. I just knew I had. Later, I learned we had hit black ice on the roadway. But as we crossed the bridge and started, backward down an embankment into the unknown, I could feel the Jeep start to roll, and it was at that moment that I looked over at my wife of 32 plus years at the time, and our eyes met. It was for just a spit second. But that exchanged glance will be forever emblazoned in my mind. As the car started to roll, and as our eyes met, I was thinking, “I love her. Is this the end?” Then, in an instant, we went over the embankment. I don’t know how long we were spinning. It couldn’t have been more than a few seconds. I was holding onto the steering wheel for dear life. I was stomping on the brakes to try and stop our decent into the abyss! We finally came to a stop after going about a hundred yards off the highway. We had gone down the embankment, through a fence, missed a couple of trees and ended up facing back towards whence we came. Somehow we didn’t end up rolling. I looked over at my wife; she was fine. Fortunately, we sustained no injuries!

The longer I live the more I learn how fragile this life really is! Over the years the loss of loved ones is a reminder to me of just how “temporary” our state is here on earth. There are no guarantees in this life as to the time we have on earth. I am reminded of the words of the Savior regarding the temporary nature of this life.

“…Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God. (Luke 12:20-21).

As I went over the embankment that morning, it could have been my time. In a moment, all that I had ever done on this earth could have come to a close. Would I have been happy about that? Would I have been satisfied in making an account of what I had done with my time? Would I have left things “undone”? Would I have left with things “unsaid”? Would I….? My “over the embankment” experience, has given me pause to ponder and consider how quickly my life can end and the meaning of not only life, but of my life! What did I think of in when my life hung in the balance? It was the love of my wife! Since then, the Savior’s sacrifice has taken on a deeper meaning because I never want to lose her. Not then, not now, not ever! It’s something I have pondered on everyday since!

castaway

Who Knows What The Tide Could Bring!

TheDiscipleMD
Five years ago or so I wrote these words in my journal:

“… I am satisfied that there is nothing I could be doing that is of more importance than the work of the Lord. I am grateful each day for life and liberty.”

Sometimes it is easy to take each day for granted. There always seems to be something that can get us down. Over the years  I have heard some people say, “I’m just grateful to get up each morning and be blessed with another day of life”, or words to that effect. Perhaps that statement sounds trite, but if so, it should be a trite statement  that we incorporate into our lives. Each day we have in this life really is a blessing. As one company advertising campaign states, “Life comes at you fast!” I can certainly testify to the veracity of that slogan. My life is certainly passing before me as if it were a dream.

Both good and bad things happen on a daily basis. Often we take for granted  the good things in our lives until we lose it, such as good health.   The sun will set today and the sun will rise announcing the dawn of a new day tomorrow. Each new day gives to each of us a new opportunity to count our blessings and a new day to bless the lives of others.  As much as one might dislike the character Scarlett O’Hara, from the Civil War novel ‘Gone with the Wind’, you have to admire her optimism. After Rhett Butler tells her he “doesn’t give a damn” about her, he turns and walks out on her. She then gives this final glib statement, which is the last line of the book. “I’ll go home, and I’ll think of some way to get him back. After all, tomorrow is another day”.

Well, tomorrow is another day and who knows what experiences it holds for each of us. Let us be optimistic and greet each day with a prayer of thanksgiving in our hearts. In so doing we will live happier lives and be a blessing to all those we come into contact with. Tom Hanks played the main character in the movie “Castaway” (2000).  After being stranded on a desert island for a number of years,  the tide washes up a large section of a portable toilet which he uses as a sail to get off the island. After getting back to civilization he is quoted as saying,  “…I know what I have to do now. I gotta keep breathing, because tomorrow the sun will rise. Who knows what the tide could bring!” He had learned that each day is a new adventure bringing with it renewed hope.   Indeed,  who knows what tomorrow’s tide will bring to each of us!

 

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Rediscovering That ‘The Perfect Woman’ Is Your Wife!

TheDiscipleMD

She is the perfect woman and she was there the first time you caught her smile, held her hand, or shared a laugh. She was there, next to you in the theater, in your arms as you danced the night away, or next to you in the pew at as you soaked in the spirit of the latest sermon at church. She was there, across from you when you exchanged sacred vows and covenants across the Holy Alter of God. She was also there when you held your first babe in arms and felt the taste of fatherhood for the first time.

As time went by the cares of this world took control and there were bills to pay, planes to catch, things to do, combined with endless responsibilities. Somehow along the way ‘the perfect woman’ disappeared because life took over and you stopped seeing.

The story is told of a preacher who was delivering a fiery sermon about the Savior of the World, Jesus Christ. He bellowed out to the congregation, “He was the only man who ever lived who was perfect. Can anyone else claim to be perfect?” Quickly a man in the back stood up and raised his hand high. The preacher, startled, glared, “Are you saying that you are perfect?” “No cried the man, I am standing up in proxy for my wife’s first husband, who is deceased.”

Often it takes such a tragedy to jolt, or remind many of us of the ‘perfect’ nature of our spouses. I have spoken to many who only re-discover their ‘perfect’ spouse, after their mate has crossed that ‘river of no return.’ What a shame that it takes such an event to stir up our souls in remembrance and gratitude.

The truth be told, in my case, as with many other husbands, is that ‘the perfect woman’ has always been there with us. From day one she has been with us through the darkest nights of our lives as well as cheering us on to our greatest triumphs! She has held our hand through the stormiest times of life, and also been by our side during the sunshine of our brightest days. She has earned every accolade that should be bestowed upon a queen, while carrying the marks on her body and soul of a devoted and loving wife and mother.

Our wives need to be reminded of the great truth that she is, in our eyes, ‘the perfect woman.’ We need to re-discover that truth daily, so that when the day of separation comes, as it does for all, we won’t be left pondering why the ‘perfect woman’ who traveled by our side ‘as his;’ escaped this world without ever truly knowing who she really is!

Honey what do you do all day

Honey, What Do You Do All Day?

TheDiscipleMD

“Patrick came home from work and found his three children outside, still in their pajamas, playing in the mud, with empty food boxes and wrappers strewn all around the front garden. The door of his wife, Valerie’s car was open, as was the front door to the house and there was no sign of the dog. Proceeding into the hall, Patrick found an even bigger mess. A lamp had been knocked over, and the rug was piled up against one wall. In the front room the TV was loudly blaring a cartoon channel, and the family room was strewn with toys and various items of clothing. In the kitchen, dishes filled the sink, breakfast food was spilled on the worktop, the fridge door was open wide, dog food was spilled on the floor, a broken glass lay under the table, and a small pile of sand was spread by the back door. Patrick quickly headed up the stairs, stepping over toys and more piles of clothes, looking for Valerie. He was worried she might be ill, collapsed, or that something serious had happened. He was met with a small trickle of water as it made its way out the bathroom door. As he peered inside he found wet towels, scummy soap and more toys strewn over the floor. Miles of toilet paper lay in a heap and toothpaste had been smeared over the mirror and sink. As he rushed to the bedroom, he found Valerie still curled up in the bed in her pajamas, reading a novel. She looked up at him, smiled, and asked how his day went. Patrick looked at Valerie, bewildered and asked, ‘What happened here today?’ Valerie again smiled and answered, ‘You know every day when you come home from work and you ask me sarcastically what in the world I do all day?’ ‘Yes,’ was Patrick’s startled reply. Valerie answered, ‘Well, today, I didn’t do it.’”

My wife is also the mother of five and it didn’t take me long to discover that she was doing “a lot” during the time I was at work. I once fell asleep on the floor while I was “babysitting” my firstborn who was 18 month old at the time. I was rudely awakened when he dropped a hammer on my head. That incident alone “knocked” some sense into my head regarding the duties that my wife was handling on a daily basis

More than thirty years ago,  Gordon B. Hinckley said:

“…motherhood is the means by which God carries forward his grand design of continuity of the race. Both priesthood and motherhood are essentials of the plan of the Lord. Each complements the other. Each is needed by the other. God has created us male and female, each unique in his or her individual capacities and potential. (“Live Up To Your Inheritance”, Oct. 1983)

I have great respect for the women of the church who not only fulfill the divine role of motherhood, but who also contribute via service to the community and to the church. And still others, out of necessity, juggle all the above and work outside the home. President Hinckley aptly paid women this compliment. From the above reference address, he said, “God be thanked for the wonderful women of this Church. May he plant in your hearts a sense of pride in your capacities and a conviction of truth, which shall be as a rudder to keep you safe through every storm.”

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