Don’t Forget The Old Horses: They Can Still ‘Pull The Wagon!’


A number of 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 a long-time friend participate. He and I were 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 existence, we 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 congregation,  who had the responsibility for making sure the missionaries were fed, asked my wife on several occasions if she could host them. My wife was working long, stressful hours as a nurse at the time,  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 was sure that we could work out a time in the near future. I then told her how, throughout 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 momentarily and then said, “You know, I guess there is a time and season in all our lives.”  She was right! She left 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 at remembering the service of those who have gone before me.  I once attended a funeral of a sister who was in 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 before 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 us to “broaden” our vision of others. We often pass through other’s 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! Don’t forget the old horses! They can still ‘pull the wagon!’

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