A Father’s Day Card To Remember!

TheDiscipleMD

Being the father of five kids and now advancing in age, I have by now received hundreds of father’s day cards. They have all been heartfelt and wonderfully express my children’s love and gratitude to me. I have loved them all. No matter how insignificant they think their card will be to me, they need to know that it always lifts my spirits. So this past Father’s Day when a card arrived in the mail from my daughter who lives out of town, I opened it that day, which was in advance of the celebrated day. In it she had named five very specific traits that she thought were good, that she had incorporated into her life, that she attributed to my teachings.

If you asked me what I taught my children while they were growing up, I don’t think I would have listed any of the five attributes that she wrote on that card. I was flattered that she thought those fine attributes, that she has, came from me. And weather they did or not I don’t know for sure. I really think she got them from her mother. But I was touched, as all parents are, when a child gets specific about what you have taught them. Because heaven knows, parents certainly take the rap for many of the negative things that come out of their kids.

So if you have your parents here on the earth. Take a moment and jot down some specific wonderful things that you were taught and have incorporated into your life. Then send it in an envelope sealed with love. Don’t wait till next Mother’s or Father’s Day because time has a way of robbing us of unfinished business. My time to write something to my parents ended last year. And I wish I had one more chance to write and tell my Mom and Dad just what I gained from all their hard work with this imperfect son. But more than anything else, by taking the time to make an inventory of our lives, we would probably realize that our parents taught us wonderful and priceless things that are still blessing our lives. And they should know that all their hard work didn’t go for naught. And by focusing on all the great things our parents taught us, we will gain a greater appreciation for them. And that’s a good thing…for us both!

Quotes From Both My “Fathers!”

TheDiscipleMD

Quoting someone, in my mind, is the highest form of compliment! I have noticed throughout my life that there is only one person that I find myself quoting over and over. That would be my father! In fact, I have quoted him so often that I wonder why it is that I don’t follow all the counsel and wisdom he has given me. I guess I do the same with my Heavenly Father as I often find myself ignoring promptings and feelings that would lead me to a better life. Yet, I know they both still love me despite my impetuous decisions and occasional irrational behavior!

My Earthly Father’s mind, now deceased four years, was sharp despite his advanced years. When we had  lunch together he was still patiently listening to me as I went on and on about things happening in my world. I usually reserved the last five minutes of our conversation for him. And in that five minutes he masterfully gave me nuggets of gold on how to better live my life and he encouraged me onward. I was always left with another fabulous quote or two to pass on to my family and friends. I was always left wondering why it was that I didn’t just be quiet and let him have most of the time, because I would have learned so much more if I did. Unfortunately, I find myself doing the same thing in my personal conversations with God. I pour out my heart to him, but seldom give Him time to answer back and give me wisdom.

I no longer have access to his wise words. But of all the quotes he has left me with, it is the words of Peter which best summarizes everything my Father has attempted to teach me. In response to Jesus question regarding the disciples continuing to follow him, Peter declares:

“Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life… We (I) believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.” (John 6:68-69)

I am blessed (and I say “am” because I believe in eternal life) to have a Father whose legacy to his family, is the above quote, which captures, if taken to heart, a lesson that would change the world into a much better place. Thanks Dad! You’re teachings, highlighted by quotes, has blessed me to live a happier and more blessed life. Your example, has given me hope and faith in another Father, who also loves me, as you do; and  you taught me where to find His quotes, as recorded in the Holy Scriptures. You have taught me to believe in “Quotes from both Fathers!”

“The Girl You Marry Will Take A Terrible Chance On You!”

TheDiscipleMD

“The girl you marry will take a terrible chance on you. She will give her all to the young man she marries. He will largely determine the remainder of her life. She will even surrender her name to his name” (Gordon B. Hinckley, “Living Worthy of the Girl You Will Someday Marry,”).

Gordon B. Hinckley had a way with words and a way of communicating those words with power, conviction and love. Over forty years ago my wife took a “terrible chance” on me. I’m not sure it worked out for her but I know it did for me. I was talking with one of my brothers who, several years ago,  had a daughter marry. He, like most fathers, held a high standard for the young man who came calling for her hand. We sat and talked a bit about this subject and then he said that he saw in the eyes of the father of the bride that recently married his son, the same concern that he had for his daughters. He recognized “the look” and thought to himself that this man didn’t need to worry because he felt confident that his son would take good care of his daughter. The man who knows his son best should be his father. But it dawned on him that the bride’s father didn’t know his son like he did.  Time was needed for his son to gain his new father-in-laws confidence. Respect is most often earned over time.

In the same talk Hinckley went on to say these words.

“As the old Church of England ceremony says, you will marry her “for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, for better or for worse.” She will be yours and yours alone, regardless of the circumstances of your lives. You will be hers and hers alone. There can be eyes for none other. There must be absolute loyalty, undeviating loyalty one to another. Hopefully you will marry her forever, in the house of the Lord, under the authority of the everlasting priesthood. Through all the days of your lives, you must be as true one to another as the polar star.”

The polar star is also known as the North Star, known for centuries by mariners as something you can depend on and trust. There is something quite remarkable about a couple that has built their marriage on trust. In that kind of union the two are at peace.  They never wonder about the who, the what,  and the whereabouts of their spouse because they know he or she is doing the right thing and can be found in righteous places. Fear and anger haunt those who cannot trust their mate as suspicion and uneasiness are tightly interwoven into the already complex nature of the marriage relationship.

May all of us ‘be true to one another as the polar star!  May we husbands be the kind of men we would want to see come courting our beautiful daughters. In so doing we will be listening to a prophets voice and taking advantage of and receiving all the blessings that God has in store for us in the wonderful world of marriage. Another man, who gave us his precious daughter, is counting on it!

The Good Die Young

TheDiscipleMD

It was over a decade ago that I got the dreaded call from my older brother, Richard. I looked down at my cell phone to see his name light up. I knew that he had been in to see the doctor that week for a prognosis on his pancreatic cancer. When I answered the phone, he greeted me in his usual style of class and suave and said, “Well, it looks like I will be checking out early.” A few months later he died at the age of fifty-nine.

I had the opportunity to see Rich one more time before he passed on to the other side of the veil. I stood next to him as we looked out his back window just weeks before his death.  He said to me, “It’s just so hard to believe that in a month or so my name will appear in the local obituary and a funeral service will be held on my behalf.” I was speechless. I couldn’t wrap my head around the concept. So I could imagine why he said what he did.  And although I have a firm testimony of the resurrection, it is still difficult to see one of your siblings die at such a young age. I lost a sister who was in her early 40’s many years ago. She is buried in the same cemetery as my brother. After we had buried my brother, I saw my Father, and being from out-of-town I went over to him to ask where the gravestone was of my sister. I embraced him and told him that he did a wonderful job of speaking at the funeral. He had spoken on the great hope of the resurrection. With tears in his eyes he said, “I believe every word I said!” “So do I,” was my reply! Then we walked up the hill where he and I stood over the gravestone of my sister. As I knelt down and touched her stone to brush off the leaves, I was overcome with emotion. I couldn’t help but cry out in the anguish of my soul at the loss of two of my siblings at such young ages.

However, that being said, my soul is hopeful that I will see both of them, along with my Mother, and now my Father, who has since joined them on the other side as well as many other loved ones. I take comfort in the teachings found in the scriptures, particularly the message found in Alma 22:14 which states:

“And since man had fallen he could not merit anything of himself; but the sufferings and death of Christ atone for their sins, through faith and repentance, and so forth; and that he breaketh the bands of death, that the grave shall have no victory, and that the sting of death should be swallowed up in the hopes of glory…”

A talk was given by Thomas Monson in 1993 entitled “Hopeless Dawn- Joyful Morning”. In it he expresses these thoughts:

“The famed scientist Madame Marie Curie returned to her home the night of the funeral for her husband, Pierre Curie, who was killed in an accident in the streets of Paris, and made this entry in her diary: “They filled the grave and put sheaves of flowers on it. Everything is over. Pierre is sleeping his last sleep beneath the earth. It is the end of everything, everything, everything!” In reality, every thoughtful person has asked himself this question: Does the life of man continue beyond the grave? Death comes to all mankind. It comes to the aged as they walk on faltering feet. Its summons is heard by those who have scarcely reached midway in life’s journey, and often it hushes the laughter of little children. Death is one tragic fact that no one can escape or deny.”

Yet, President Monson presented the glorious doctrine of the resurrection when he continued:

“The darkness of death can ever be dispelled by the light of revealed truth. “I am the resurrection, and the life,” spoke the Master; “he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: “And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.” (John 11:25–26.)

Indeed, my siblings had left this life early but the old saying that “the good die young” is really not true.  Because they will never die! Their influence and light still lives on in their posterity and in the good works that stand as a testimony of their lives of service.  And I have faith that my siblings are living on the other side of the veil with my parents.  None of us know for sure what the length of our journey will be here on this planet. But I have great hope and faith in the promises of the Lord that when the day comes that words are said over my coffin, the essence of who I am will have moved on to that glorious after-life that awaits the faithful followers of Jesus Christ. Of this, I am sure!

Photo: (4 Brothers)-Richard, Andy, Scott, Doug

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