Don’t Forget The Old Horses


A few years ago I was in charge of our church youth softball tournament. It is always enjoyable to play but that year was made more so by having the Stake President participate. He and I are old teammates from many years ago and share a love of the game. The next day he sent me a quick email expressing his thanks and enjoyment of the games we played that day. I responded to him, among other things, by writing that “…it is good that old horses, like us, strap on the leather now and then to show the rising generation, that despite our diminishing skills, we can still pull the wagon!

In this life all of us are constantly moving in and out of other people’s lives.  Unless someone has known you for a long time their perspective of who you are is based upon today, not yesterday, and the totality of your life. A young sister in our ward who had the responsibility for making sure the missionaries were fed asked my wife on several occasions if she could host them. My wife is now working long stressful hours as a nurse and she had put off giving her a definite date. This young sister approached me and asked the same question. I told her that at the moment my wife was extremely busy and that I’m sure that we could work out a time in the near future. I then told her how, over the course of our married life, we have had the missionaries over for dinner innumerable times as our kids were growing up. I told her it was a wonderful blessing to our family. She seemed to reflect for a moment and then said, “You know, I guess there is a time and season in all our lives.”  She was right! I think she went away from our conversation with a broader view of things and possibly a greater perspective of others lives. I know that in my younger years I didn’t fully appreciate the past service of older members.

As we parted I reflected on something my father said to me many years ago while I was serving in priesthood leadership.  He said, “Don’t forget those that have labored in the noonday sun long before you came.”

I have tried to be better in remembering the service of those that have gone before me.  Recently I attended a funeral of a sister who was into her nineties. I had never known her in her “younger” years. She has always been “an old woman” to me with her later years being spent debilitated in a nursing home. Often she was not all there in mind! A preacher spoke at her funeral who was from another church. She had been a long time member of that church prior to joining ours. He reminisced about how much service this good sister had done for the congregation. As I sat in the pew, I tried to envision this elderly sister as a vibrant young mother who had served so well the members of that church. I thought how sad it was that I never knew that part of her life. Perhaps I would have been a better friend to her if I could have known the “whole” person.

I would encourage all of us to “broaden” our vision of others. We often pass through others lives so quickly that we are unaware of the life they have lived before we have met.  Let us appreciate all those we know. There is so much more to each of us than meets the eye!

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