Elder True DeMille

Elder True DeMille

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Are you 'hanging in there'?

Hey there!

..So.. take a minute with me..


Imagine yourself on a lonnng trip, that goes clear across the continent. With your bags packed, loaded and secured, your feet are outstretched as you excitedly anticipate the arrival of your final destination. In fact -- it's really all you can think about! On a certain day, and at a certain hour, you'll pull into that special station, touch down on that long-awaited runway, or dock at that one of a kind harbor. ..You can hear the bands playing and marvel at all the flags waving- smiling faces everywhere- as your dreams seem certain to come true.

And of course, they will! Once you get there, everything will be perfect. When you finally step foot onto that solid earth, then you will be happy, satisfied - and at long last - care free. Right? ..If only you can just hang in there and make it  to your destination. Then you will find joy!
However, as Elder Kevin W. Pearson of the Seventy taught us this past general conference: "To 'hang in there' is not a principle of the gospel." Likewise, we should focus more on HOW we are getting to our destination, and embrace each moment and opportunity that arises as we travel along, rather than thinking "if I can just get there and get this over with.. ..then I will be happy.”

When I was maybe eight years old, I remember vividly sitting in the passenger seat of my dad's black Volkswagen Passat as we drove to get the car washed at a nearby gas station in downtown Salt Lake City. As we drove, we talked - like most fathers and sons do - and drew nearer and nearer to the station. As we arrived, we pulled into the parking lot near the huge carwash tunnel, and I noticed a dark-skinned man with a cardboard sign and worn out, sun-bleached clothes. I laid back in my seat a little bit, and scoffed at him silently. With enough attitude in my voice to offend anyone, I asked my dad, "Dad, what is he doing?" Doesn't he know that no one's going to give him any money?" ..My dad was silent as we simultaneously approached the man and the entrance to the car wash. I thought to myself about how dirty the man looked, and about all the horrible things this man had probably done in his life to put him into such an awful state. --Then, my thoughts were interrupted by my father making some kind of commotion. He checked his change drawer, then took out his wallet - glancing through it slightly- and watched my eyes grow big as he took out a twenty dollar bill.
Before I could say anything the window was down, my dad's arm was waving the precious piece of paper outside of it, and the man I was just barely judging from afar was at our window.

With unmistakable and unforgettable gratitude, the man humbly took my father's money and left - blessing us in the name of God as we returned to his spot on the lawn. 
My dad then turned to me and said in a tone and way I would never forget, "True. You know nothing about that man. You know nothing about his life, or what he's been through. Never judge someone because of how they look, or act. Everyone in this world has a good heart and deserves another chance, buddy." ..I was quiet for a long time.

What I learned that day, amongst other things, was how important our hearts are, and how big of a role our hearts play when we travel through life. I was only 8 years old, and had wanted with all my little heart to just drive past the rough looking neighbor and get to our destination. But, my father, even right outside the very place we were trying to get to, decided that there was an opportunity for us to grasp. ..Little did he know that small act of kindness would affect me for the rest of my life.

I think that if Jesus Christ were to sit down with us for a while, to see how we were doing, or to simply check up on us, I'm not so sure that he'd be very focused on our programs, statistics, followers, or achievements. What the Savior would want to know is the condition of our heart. ..Do we, as human beings, go straight to the car wash - ignoring those in need of second chances, and helping hands along our way? Or do we, like my father did -- stop?

..Are we not, all of us, in need of repair, maintenance, and rehabilitation - just like the dark-skinned man?
I've been incredibly blessed to have two wonderful father figures in my life, and wanted to thank them both today for being such wonderful examples of "Cherishing the moment" to me. ..My stepdad, Scott - has especially been an amazing example of this -- clear since the time I met him back when I was 10 years old.

If you knew my Scott, you'd know that he can fix anything. ..And I mean anything. Growing up, he'd call me into whichever room he was in, at any given time -- to simply teach me how to fix something. .. I soon learned that this - fixing things- was to be expected, should Scott ever ask me to "come here for a minute". Haha.
But, every time we fixed something -- though the project may have seemed large, impossible, or even on the other hand, insignificant, I learned a valuable lesson every single time. ..And it was never in the finished product. ..Having a new air conditioner, lawnmower, light fixture, or basement appliance never taught me anything. But listening to Scott teach me about morals, standards, random life experiences, and hearing his advice while we worked taught me everything. With every piece there was a word of advice, or a story, or a new joke -- that helped me to progress until my work was complete.
..I cherish those moments with Scott, and drives with my dad more than most other memories. It was at that time I was shown how to cherish the moments, and create memories along the way. 

Happy Father's Day to you, and to all of the other fathers or soon to be fathers out there! Remember the valuable lessons that you've learned along the way, and always seek for the patience and love to have those moments count. All the time. Quit pacing the aisles and counting the miles, and live in it. Try to avoid 'hanging' in there, and look for opportunities to teach.. to be taught.. to laugh, to live, to love and to grow. Pray for help when human judgement and good intentions are not enough, and "lift the hands that hang helplessly down (D&C 81:5)”.

Love you all!! 
Happy Father's Day!!!

All the love,

Elder DeMille

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