What I have learned as my hair gets grayer.

I am now 41 years old, and my hair has become mostly gray.   I have also been married for almost 14 years (in March) to a very loving and patient wife (momzoo).  During the course of 13 years of marriage, and 41 years of time, there are a few things I have learned and have picked up.  (And at times, I need to sit down and remind myself of them.)

These are just some random thoughts that I have had in the last little while.

FAMILY

Family IS the greatest source of Joy.   There is nothing more powerful then a handful of kids running to give you hugs when you are leaving the house, and when you are returning home.

There is nothing like seeing a new life come into the world, looking around in awe, taking its first breath, and feeling the love of its Mother and Father.  (I have now seen this 6 times, and it still amazes me each time.)

Life is good when a restless/sick sleepy child wakes, looks over and sees you there, then smiles and goes back to sleep, knowing that everything is OK because Mommy or Daddy is there.

Things seem to slow down, when you walk in the room, say something, and have your new born look around to see where Daddy is.  And when they see Daddy, they smile and then continue doing what they were doing before you walked into the room.  Or to have your son stop what is his doing, wave at you, and say,  “Hey Dad.” and then go back to playing.

Life seems complete when you see a child struggle with something, overcome it, and then glow with confidence and pride when it all just fits together.

There is nothing more calming then reaching over and squeezing your wifes hand while on a long drive, or sitting by her on the couch.

I agree with what Neil L. Anderson said during the Oct 2011 LDS Conference:

Neil L. Andersen - Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.I testify of the great blessing of children and of the happiness they will bring us in this life and in the eternities.

As we look into the eyes of a child, we see a fellow son or daughter of God who stood with us in the premortal life.

It is a crowning privilege of a husband and wife who are able to bear children to provide mortal bodies for these spirit children of God. We believe in families, and we believe in children.

Families are central to God’s eternal plan. I testify of the great blessing of children and of the happiness they will bring us in this life and in the eternities, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.  – Neil L. Anderson – “Children” – October 2011

 

SOCIETY

The harder you work for something, the more you enjoy it.  This is true with yard work, saving for a purchase, education, and all aspects of life.  If we remove all trials, or allow someone to do everything for us, we lose the satisfaction of a job well done and the feeling of purpose and accomplishment.  Don’t expect everyone to give you everything.  Get up, go out, and build it yourself.

If you center your life around yourself, and don’t think about others, then you miss the best parts of life.  Slow down, drive in the right lane, and enjoy life.   Don’t speed up so you don’t have to let the truck in, slow down and give the truck room.  Don’t be so distracted that you don’t see the kind things society has to offer others.  Maybe that truck driver just needed someone to show a little respect, and now he can pass that kindness on as well.

“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.” – John 4:7  If everyone showed love to one another, then society would be a more enjoyable group of people.

POLITICS

You need to get involved.  But you also need to be ready for standing your ground when the fight gets tough.

We appear to be living in an era in which many are speaking without thinking, encouraging emotional reactions rather than thoughtful responses. Whether it be on the national or international stage, in personal relations or in politics, at home or in the public forum, voices grow ever more strident, and giving and taking offense appear to be chosen rather than inadvertent.

The Lord has warned that from the beginning and throughout history, Satan would stir up people’s hearts to anger. In the Book of Mormon, Laman set a pattern of so murmuring as to stir anger, to stoke rage, and to incite murder. Time and again in the Book of Mormon, we find deluded and wicked men inciting rage and provoking conflict. In the days of Captain Moroni, the apostate Amalickiah inspired “the hearts of the Lamanites against the people of Nephi.” Amulon and the wicked priests of Noah; Nehor; Korihor; and Zoram the apostate (the dishonor roll goes on throughout the Book of Mormon) were agitators who inspired distrust, fueled controversy, and deepened hatreds. – Robert S. Wood, “Instruments of the Lord’s Peace” – April 2006

RELIGION

No one is perfect, we all have our trials.  We just need to be patient with others as they deal with their trials.

Dieter F. UchtdorfI want to tell you something that I hope you will take in the right way: God is fully aware that you and I are not perfect.

Let me add: God is also fully aware that the people you think are perfect are not.

And yet we spend so much time and energy comparing ourselves to others—usually comparing our weaknesses to their strengths. This drives us to create expectations for ourselves that are impossible to meet. As a result, we never celebrate our good efforts because they seem to be less than what someone else does.

Everyone has strengths and weaknesses.

It’s wonderful that you have strengths.

And it is part of your mortal experience that you do have weaknesses.

God wants to help us to eventually turn all of our weaknesses into strengths, but He knows that this is a long-term goal. He wants us to become perfect, and if we stay on the path of discipleship, one day we will. It’s OK that you’re not quite there yet. Keep working on it, but stop punishing yourself. – “Forget Me Not” – Dieter F. Uchtdorf – October 2011

Don’t compare yourself to others in your church.  Everyone is on a different level, and everyone has different trials.  It only matters where you are in the process and how you feel about where you are.