Hello family and friends!
What a wonderful day it is here in Korea! I'm excited because it looks like spring is finally on the way. I was so distraught when I realized a few weeks ago that I did in fact have a winter birthday. I was trying to refute the fact so I didn't wear a coat last Tuesday, just my birthday suit. ...editorial note: the suit that was a birthday present to myself from me....not an actual "birthday suit"...^^ Elder Wagner made us go back to the apartment and get it after district meeting due to the drizzle.. I'm still in denial. :)
But I am excited because exactly one week after my birthday is the birthday of an individual who is most definitely the most Christ-like and wonderful and extraordinary and lovely and awesome person who I know in this large and exciting world: MY MOTHER! Happy Birthday Mom! I know that who I am is due to the innumerable folks who made up the village that raise me. (I have lots of great moms: Mom Denton and Mom Sirrine and Mom Cole, I have lovely Aunts, and I have three first rate, fantastic sisters who have been the best kind of motherly to me.) But I cannot help but conclude that the greatest impact goes to my Mom!! Thank you MOM! I love you more than words can express, but I will try!
Throughout my life I've kind of been blessed to learn lots of lessons. (Some the hard way and lots with grumbling of some sort but they were distilled!) I wanted to enumerate a few of the greats. They are innumerable but as time is short I will have to be limited.
First. Look at the big picture. Life is tough and life is short and is is so much harder when we don't have the right perspective. One of the most invaluable lessons is that of looking beyond yourself. It is about looking at my behavior, my actions, the actions of others, seeing how they impact not only me but the group then acting appropriately. I am still trying to get the big picture in my head and I must thank Mom for laying out the canvas for that big picture. (Think big picture and remember that the biggest picture is the Plan.)
Second. Service is the price you pay to dwell in someone's heart. This quote lives in our kitchen above a painting my Minerva T--whatever her name is of Jesus with Martha and Mary. It is written on the wall and I'd like to think is written in my heart because it has come in handy and directed my actions on several occasions since I've been in Korea. Thanks,, Mom!
Third. Come what may and love it. Ok, this actually came from Elder Wirthlin's mom, but My mom says it all the time so I also accredit it to her that it is part of me! This quote is essential not only because it promotes my eternal quest for optimism and thanking the Lord not matter the circumstance, but because it reinforces that love really is the essence of the gospel as President Monson said. There will be hard times. Said Sherri Dew, "if life were easy then it wouldn't be hard." The fact of the matter is that there will be hard times. There will be trying moments because that is our lot as members of the brotherhood (and sisterhood) of man. But with the life of the savior in view, we need not fear, truly because of Him no matter what comes we really can love it because All things are made Right through Christ.
Mom taught me to work hard--that we don't halt until it's through. It was our heritage to show early to help set up then be last to leave so we could vacuum and mop. Hard work is a part of life --thanks mom for helping me come to love it and not letting me quit football when I was a tired and tender eighth grader. But I think the thing that I will be most grateful for through out the rest of the eternities is her example to me and her aid in cultivating and conditioning my love of church, my love of the scriptures, my love of God. She taught me how and why we must all be exactly obedient, how obedience is the bedrock of the gospel, and how it is through our Savior Jesus Christ, through the power of His atonement (both cleansing and enabling) that I can be made whole. That I can be made His! And that I can be happy and successful in this life. So, Thank you Mom! Thank you so much! And though I can not be there myself I hope you have the most splendid birthday ever! I love you more that my words can say.
I love you a 1,000,000 red Swedish fish!
Onward and upward!
Your baby boy,