You Bless And Inspire Us!


Most disabilities are not visible.

In this life, some of us are presented with physical challenges that require courage. Others are presented with moral challenges that require courage. Some of us are presented with both in this life.  Over forty years ago I presented my firstborn son before the Lord and his church to give him a name and a blessing.  After the meeting a woman from church come up to me and say, “I have never heard of someone blessing their child with a “smiley personality.” She was right of course. The word, “smiley”, is really more of a graphic, a 1970’s popular yellow round circle with black dots for eyes, and a huge smile on it’s supposed face. But somehow I said it and blessed him with it.

My oldest son and child quickly became my best friend and it stayed that way for many wonderful years. He truly did have a “smiley” personality. Then things changed as he entered his teenage years. His smile showed up, less and less. Our conversations grew cold and strained. I couldn’t figure out what had happened. It was many years before he came down one day and told us he thought he was suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.  Later it was medically confirmed. I didn’t know much about it and even after more than 20 years I’m not sure I totally understand it. What I do understand is that what I perceived as a son being, “disrespectful”, was more of a son in “distress.” I discovered through prayer and mighty supplication to the Lord, that just because you don’t understand something, doesn’t mean it isn’t real. I’ve never had to face the physical challenges that he has faced. My body and mind have always worked perfectly.

Thomas Monson once said:

“God left the world unfinished for man to work his skill upon. God gives to man the challenge of raw materials, not the ease of finished things.” (“In Quest of the Abundant Life,” Ensign, Mar 1988, 2).

Some of us are given the challenge of raw materials; of an unfinished world, others the duel burden of an “unfinished” world, and “unfinished” physical bodies. I have watched my son take on the challenging task of both the moral and physical nature. His efforts and progress remind me of the words of the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow captured in his poem entitled, “The Ladder of St. Augustine”.

“The heights by great men reached and kept

Were not attained by sudden flight,

But they, while their companions slept,

Were toiling upward in the night.”

Recently Jeffrey Holland addressed mental and emotional illness by declaring:

“Whatever your struggle, my brothers and sisters—mental or emotional or physical or otherwise—do not vote against the preciousness of life by ending it! Trust in God. Hold on in His love. Know that one day the dawn will break brightly and all shadows of mortality will flee. Though we may feel we are “like a broken vessel,” as the Psalmist says,10 we must remember, that vessel is in the hands of the divine potter. Broken minds can be healed just the way broken bones and broken hearts are healed. While God is at work making those repairs, the rest of us can help by being merciful, nonjudgmental, and kind.” (“Like A Broken Vessel”, GC, October 2013)

I salute my son, and all others, who move forward under not so perfect circumstances.  I know the nights might be lonely from time to time, and I know the road may seem long and hard, but the promise of the Lord is  that your courage will pay off. The Lord will bless your life and watch over your every step. Paul promised, “…for the…Lord Jesus Christ…shall change our vile body, that  it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body.” (Philippians 3:20-21).

Until that day, when all bodies shall be fashioned like unto the body of Christ, he left these words to his followers, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. (John 14:27)  To all those who suffer from a mental, physical or emotional handicap I say, “Take it one day at a time. Keep smiling!  Your courage serves as an inspiration and blessing to the lives of all those around you!”

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