Giving Our Love We’ll Make Heaven On Earth!

TheDiscipleMD

Over these many years my wife and I have experienced more together than we can even remember.  Truly, “…(she) and I have memories longer than the road that stretches out ahead.” (Beatles, “Two Of Us”) A bond is forged where you now know each others thoughts,  and you can predict each others reactions to surrounding events.  As we grow older I look at her face while she is sleeping and it has become more beautiful than when we met, because every line, every feature, every expression has become a part of our history together.  When you spend your entire life with one person, you learn that you will never know anyone else to the depth and magnitude as your spouse.  Likewise, you come to understand that no one else will ever know the total essence of who you are as does your companion.  We have laughed together, we have wept together!  We have experienced the heights of what this life has to offer and have been together in the depths of its darkest regions.

Together we have traveled a long and winding road. It has held many thrills and also some disappointments. Like most couples these experiences have had life changing effects on us both.  For me, life’s experiences has strengthened and fortified a love I held for her as a young man.  My understanding of love has increased monumentally through the years.  I know her so well. She knows me so well.  The longer we are together, the deeper my appreciation for who she is increases.

Like every husband, I hope that she can feel my love, simply by the look of my eyes.  (Psalms 26:3)  The day will come when my eyes will dim and  words cannot be exchanged because separation comes to all.  When that day comes, I want her to know that my love is eternal and that she will “always” be mine.

For many of us the gospel of Jesus Christ has been at the core of our lives.  It is through his atonement that all of us have hope to be together forever,  and that our journey through this life is just the beginning; not the end.  “I believe in a world where light will guide us and giving our love we’ll make a heaven on earth.” (“I Believe”, Andrea Bocelli and Katherine Jenkins) Believers look forward to the time when the Savior will come again and the world really will be heaven on earth. I believe! Until that day,  a husband and a wife sharing their love can at least provide a bit of  heaven while still in mortality!

After The Death Of This Salesman…

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The famous American playwright Arthur Miller wrote “Death of a Salesman,” which tells of the life and tragic death of a salesman named Willy Lowman. At the age of sixty-three Willy loses his job and in despair commits suicide. He does this in order to secure the financial welfare of his family through his life insurance policy.
I have been a salesman almost my entire life. I can certainly empathize with Willy’s plight. Selling can be a hard job. Often your value is based solely on that month’s, or week’s, or day’s sales production. And if that is all I had to evaluate my life’s work on, I might consider a similar fate. But, I doubt very seriously, when the end of my days come, that much will be said of my sales career. And looking down from above, I will be highly disappointed if it is! I am in hopes that the more important aspects of my life will be recited before those in attendance. Willy Lowman’s mistake was thinking that the end of this life was the sum total of who he was or would ever be as a salesman. His despair in not reaching “greatness,” as he perceived it, drove him to take his own life.
Sadly many of us live out our lives in a similar fashion. We never fully understand that this is just a way station in the big plan. No more than a moment in time. The sum total of a man is not to be found in the honors of this world.

I have a strong testimony that the resurrection is real. Consequently I have never felt the same despair in my life as Willy Lowman. I know that the Savior lives and because of that, after the death of “this” salesman, I have faith that my life will go on and the associations I have made in this life will live on in the eternities. That knowledge helps me keep things in perspective so that I don’t sell myself short of the price already paid for my happiness!

My Brother’s Keeper

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I have attended many weddings over my lifetime and I am always struck by how often the brother of the groom, who is asked to give a toast, tells how he and his brother always fought, or didn’t get along when they were younger. I hear over and over how they had fist fights as kids or some other grim story of their relationship, which now has changed for the better. I always wonder if their relationship has really changed, or are they just saying something nice for the sake of the groom. It is foreign to me; to fight with your brothers. Why would you?

I see in the scriptures that, beginning with the first family, there is an example of a brother whose jealousy, envy and greed towards the other led to wicked and tragic things. The sad saga of brother’s wrath for each other is chronicled throughout not only scripture, but throughout the secular history of the world. Blessed then indeed, I must be, to never have had harsh feelings towards my brothers. For me, it has been the opposite. I have felt wonderful support and encouragement throughout my life from them. I believe they sincerely want the best for me and I know I want the best for them.

In the church we are taught to call one another “Brother” or “Sister”, a practice which is supposed to remind us to treat everyone with love and kindness as we would a family member. But if you can’t love those closest, I wonder how difficult it must be to actually love someone who is no more than an acquaintance. The Savior gave us good counsel when he said:

“…why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother’s eye.” (Luke 6: 41-42)

Of course a “mote” is a speck or particle while a “beam” is a long, or large piece of wood. In other words the Lord was telling us that oft-times we are willing to overlook huge faults in ourselves, but strain at small faults of others.

Because one of my brother’s birthdays is this week, I have been  reflecting on the role of brothers. I think it is a wonderful thing to have one. It is truly a great blessing to be one.  I think the Lord intended that all mankind be true brothers. “Am I my brother’s keeper?” was Cain’s response to the Lord’s inquiry as to the whereabouts of his brother Able.  The Lord’s reply of, “What hast thou done?” (Genesis 4:10), is a question that all of us will be asked come judgment day. Let us live our lives such that when that day comes we can confidently reply that we have followed the new commandment given by the Savior,  “That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” (John 13:34)

The Warts Of The Soul!

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I don’t know what is in the formula, nor can I explain it, but I do know that it works. As a young teenage boy, like most teenagers, I was very self-conscious about my looks. Anything out of the ordinary was not a desirable trait to possess. So, when a small wart appeared on the top of my left hand one morning, it was cause for concern. After all, who wants to hold hands with a boy who has warts. As the wart grew, so did my concern.

I determined to ask the doctor I had most confidence in on how to get rid of it; my mother. She put me on to a substance called “Compound W”. I quickly purchased it and started reading the directions. Apparently by putting this “compound” on my wart, it would make it disappear. I didn’t even finish reading the directions but straightway squeezed a few drops of the “magic” potion onto the offending growth. No sooner had I done so when excruciating pain seized my hand. It was like acid was being poured on the wart. I later found out that “Compound W” was mostly just that; acid. If I had read further on the directions I would have noted that prior to application Vaseline was to be applied around the wart for protection.  I didn’t make that mistake again. It took quite awhile and it still burned every time I applied it on the wart. But it worked! Slowly but surely the wart got smaller and smaller till it flattened out and looked like normal skin. It never returned and I learned that I never wanted to experience that wonderful “compound” again. I was grateful for it, but using it once was enough for me!

Perhaps you have had a wart! They are an affront to the eyes and most of us do our best to get rid of something so foul. So too are the warts of the soul! Perhaps you have had an experience with the spiritual wart. It is also something repugnant to live with. Spiritual warts are also an affront to the eyes of the Lord. We all have them and need the soothing application of the saving spiritual “Compound R” offered by repentance. It always hurts a bit when we repent, but if we surround ourselves with the “soothing” Vaseline of the Savior’s love, we will find that the pain will be lessened, and we will find peace. Our spiritual warts will disappear, never to return. We need not think that it has to be grievous sins when we repent. It is a daily process that requires the constant application of the Savior’s atonement and obedience to his commandments.

Compound “R”,(repentance), is also a formula that I can’t totally explain, but I know it works because I have applied it in my life. Take advantage of the healing power of repentance. Dieter Uchdort had this to say on the subject.

“The good news that Jesus Christ has made the perfect Atonement for mankind, redeeming all from the grave and rewarding each individual according to his or her works, was the healing power which brought hope and peace back into my life. Whatever our challenges in life may be, our burdens may become light if we not only believe in Christ but also in His ability and His power to cleanse and console our lives. Our lives are healed as we accept His peace.” (Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Heeding the Voice of the Prophets,” Liahona, Jul 2008, 2–5).

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