Category Archives: Building relationships

Is happiness a good indicator of genuine faith?

(All images in this post are from LDS media)

This past year my attention has been drawn to the quick glimpses we catch during conferences of our prophets and apostles. Not necessarily the images we are meant to see, but those that are semi-private moments between genuine brothers.

As seers, prophets, and revelators, I can’t even begin to know the depths of what they know.

Or see what they see.

But I see them.

And they are happy.

first presidencyI can’t get the images of President Eyring laughing with President Monson, or President Uchtdorf’s eyes sparkling at something he witnesses.

Our new apostles literally have had the weight of the world placed on their shoulders.

They must realize that there is more to be done than they can ever do; they are overwhelmed, to say the least.

And still they laugh and are happy.

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Not just in the public moments as they stand as witnesses, but also in the relaxed and private ones.

I think it’s actually in these unscripted, unprepared moments of happiness that their greatest witness is borne.

Those with the greatest capacity to see, to know, and to understand just exactly how frightening things really are out there – aren’t afraid.

Instead, they smile and laugh.

And love.

We’ve been told that laughter is the best medicine for what ails us.

It’s true.

But it only works if it is real.

Forced, sarcastic, and bitter imitations have no healing power.

christmas3How do we find the strength, and even the courage, to laugh when things are – frankly – incredibly hard?

We believe.

It sounds simplistic, I know.

There are so many things out there that can make us afraid.

But only if that is all we see.

Believing in those things we cannot see brings light to illuminate what we need to see – what we must see if we no longer want to be afraid.

If we want to be happy.

I’ve watched a lot of people through the years. I think I’m getting pretty good at discerning those of deep and abiding faith in our Savior Jesus Christ.

They are burdened, they are tired, they are in pain.

Christmas4And they are happy.

Just look at the Special Witnesses we have been given.

This season of remembrance is a special opportunity for us to also stand up and witness to others what we believe.

Even if they can’t see it.

Yet.

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

ChristmasIs it really possible to be unafraid in terror-filled surroundings, to be peaceful in the midst of turmoil and uncertainty, to be happy while in pain and suffering?

And not the forced, bitter, or sarcastic imitations of happiness, but the real thing?

It is, if we will but just believe.

Be happy this season dear friends.

Be happy.

 

Do we think that radical Christianity is the best solution to radical Islam?

Many years ago my mother discovered through her genealogy work that she had close relatives living in the Great Lakes region which she had never heard of, nor they her.

Contact was made, airline tickets purchased, and Mom set off to meet her “new” family.airplane3

When she arrived, they were warm and inviting, yet she found them staring at her oddly when they thought she wasn’t looking.

Finally it came out.

“You’re a Mormon, aren’t you?”

“Why, yes I am.”

“Can we see your horns?”

My mother laughed out loud and bent her head forward for a hands-on inspection. When no horns were found, they asked their next question.

“How many wives does your husband have?”

I would imagine that many of you have similar stories you could share. We laugh now about how silly people are to believe such nonsense about an entire group of people they know nothing about.

Continue reading Do we think that radical Christianity is the best solution to radical Islam?

I SEE you

In the spring of 1989 I climbed in my car and made the trip alone to Grace, Idaho. I had made an appointment to meet with Ann’s parents to discuss my intention to marry their daughter.

Much to my chagrin, they asked me to dinner. I would have preferred a quick in-and-out kind of thing.

It seemed like all through dinner we talked about everything BUT a possible marriage to Ann. Who knew that we could spend so long talking about nothing?

At the time I really didn’t like to eat ice cream because it was so cold and made my teeth hurt. We laugh about it now, but you can imagine my discomfort when Ann’s dad came out with a bowl filled with what had to be a quart of ice cream.

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I waited for him to divide it up between the three of us, only to be horrified to see him return with two identical bowls, each filled with the same amount.

The huge bowl was my responsibility to make disappear.

This was going to be worse than I thought.

Continue reading I SEE you

I’m grateful for gratitude

Dear Friends,

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Gratitude: the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness

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That’s kind of it in a nutshell, isn’t it?

 

 

 

Gratitude is an exchange of kindness.

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The world can use more kindness.

 

 

So can we.

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Thank you for all the kindnesses you have shown me over the years that help bring us together, they always arrive just at the right time.

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To express my gratitude, I’ll do my best to follow your example.

 

 

And send out as much kindness as possible.

Happy Holidays – truly.

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Anonymity breeds apathy

The world is in turmoil right now, some parts more than others.

In France, the wounds are raw and wide open; in the UK the wounds have scabbed over but are still tender and red around the edges.

In Syria, canon fire is taking off limbs – with no one to help staunch the bleeding.

globeHere in the United States we have scars that are more of a reminder of pain than source of immediate pain.

But we are understandably still pretty gun shy.

Each country has its own personal pain.

And fears.

Rightly so.

In the madness that is extremism, it only takes one to carry out terrorist acts – leaving a bloody trail of what were, to him, nameless strangers who were guilty for no other reason than they were there.

We are repulsed at the callousness and insanity of it all.

depression5For someone to act in such a way, they surely must be beyond feeling.

Numb.

What causes someone to become that way?

Continue reading Anonymity breeds apathy