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Monday, May 23, 2005

"It's Been a Good Life"

Saturday morning, after an early missionary correlation meeting, I met the father of our outstanding Ward Mission Leader. He was just here for a few days, visiting from Pocatello. After the meeting, he told me a couple key parts of his life: seven missions including service in India and Malaysia, a marriage filled with service and love, the duty of caring for his wife as she suffered from Alzheimers, the release from that service when she passed away recently, and his summary: "It's been a good life."

There was such depth to his words as he spoke. It wasn't so much what he said as who he was and Who he followed. I was in the presence of a servant of the Lord who loves the Lord's children, a man whose life had been filled with righteous accomplishment, and it was inspiring. It made me resolved to press on with more vigor and faithfulness.

As this energetic and loving man told me a few parts of his story and mentioned the long caring for his disabled wife, I had a strange and moving experience of visualizing her rushing toward him - in the spirit world, I suppose - as a swirl of motion and color wrapping around him and tenderly thanking him for every moment of service, for every act of kindness to her while she was incapacitated and seemingly unaware or out of her mind. It all mattered. It all counted. It was all appreciated, deeply. It was hard to keep my eyes dry as this image passed through my mind.

Interestingly, one of the first things I heard this man say that day was his testimony of how precious the souls are of mentally handicapped children, how they are every bit as important as any of us and that they may represent some of the finest and purest souls the Lord has sent to earth.

I am grateful for the example of those who care for the disabled with patience and love. It may seem to be the most thankless of all service, but my encounter with this man left me convinced that great will be the reward of those who selflessly and lovingly care for a child, spouse, parent, or other relative or friend in their time of need.

How sacred the gift of life is!

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have come close in association with those that have children with some sort of 'disability' Those who care for them have a strong spiritual fortitude. I remember the case of a mother with a girl with spina bifid and hydrocephalia. The mother worked, took care for her and did all manner of things. She also had an older boy with a slight mental retardation. Whenever we visited with her, her countenance was cheerful. We always left with high spirits. The girl gave the most powerful prayers. I have heard a lot of prayers, but those uttered by that little girl have been the most special, where you feel that the heavens are opened and a loving Heavely Father listens. We have also a friend that has boys with autism. Whenever we can, we help her and her husband. Both of them are so strong, so caring, so loving that I concurr with you in feeling impressed by them. These two reminders have gave me more insight in to the sacredness of life and the joy that it is to be alive.

Susan Seet said...

I felt impressed to write a comment as I am Malaysian and I have a son who has speech delay and another son who has autism and is non-verbal. It was very hard for me in the beginning to understand why this had to happen to my children but through much prayer and personal revelation, I have come to realize how precious and valiant they were in the pre-mortal. They have very sweet spirits and are so lovable. How grateful I am to be the mother of such special boys.

I was also wondering whether I know the man that you mentioned who served in Malaysia before. We have had so many wonderful couples who teach us through their wealth of experience and wisdom. We love them and respect them. I hope they realize what treasures they are to us.

Susan Seet
Malaysia

Susan Seet said...

I felt impressed to write a comment as I am Malaysian and I have a son who has speech delay and another son who has autism and is non-verbal. It was very hard for me in the beginning to understand why this had to happen to my children but through much prayer and personal revelation, I have come to realize how precious and valiant they were in the pre-mortal. They have very sweet spirits and are so lovable. How grateful I am to be the mother of such special boys.

I was also wondering whether I know the man that you mentioned who served in Malaysia before. We have had so many wonderful couples who teach us through their wealth of experience and wisdom. We love them and respect them. I hope they realize what treasures they are to us.

Susan Seet
Malaysia

Anonymous said...

That is wonderful to hear, too bad that not all members of the church especially the leaders of the church feel that way. We have a son who has practially spent his entire life working toward the day he would be able to serve as a missionary, but today we were told that the church wouldn't even consider him for a mission because he has a diagnosis of Aspergers syndrome, we never thought we would have to worry about the church thinking of our son as just a diagnosis rather than a individual human being that deserves the same rights of consideration as anyone. This wonderful sensitive young man graduated from High school as an honor student, seminary is a Eagle scout and has been running the family farm as well as blessing the sacrament and attending the temple when ever he had the oppurtunity. How very sad and upsetting for us and all people that may be not be "typical"
This is a very sad day!

Anonymous said...

Susan Seet, so sorry to hear your kids have autism, how many kids do you have? Are they normal?