Thursday, June 20, 2013

A Story of Old

When I was 9 and 10 years old I used to go to work with my mother in the summer. She worked 11pm to 7am at the local nursing home in Bernie Missouri and I would answer the call lights of the patients helping them with their needs until she quit going to work for Headstart. Then when I was 14 years old I had my first volunteer job, it was at a nursing home in McAllen Texas, I was given an award for working 150 hours in 4 months and then again when we moved to Grand Prairie that year I earned another 150 hours in the Geratric Ward of the Grand Prairie Hospital. After High School my first nursing Job was at a nursing home in Grand Prairie Tx and then again in Nevada Iowa until I couldn't do the job anymore with pregnancy complications. I tell you this so you'll know why I am posting this piece, and I hope it will reach you the way it should and your heart will be open.

Love From Dixie


When an old man died in the geriatric ward of a small hospital near Tampa, Florida, it was believed that he had nothing left of any value.

Later, when the nurses were going through his meager possessions, They found this poem. Its quality and content so impressed the staff that copies were made and distributed to every nurse in the hospital.

One nurse took her copy to Missouri . The old man's sole bequest to posterity has since appeared in the Christmas edition of the News Magazine of the St. Louis Association for Mental Health. A slide presentation has also been made based on his simple, but eloquent, poem.

Crabby Old Man

What do you see nurses? ...What do you see?

What are you thinking......when you're looking at me?

A crabby old man,.....not very wise,

Uncertain of habit ........with faraway eyes?

Who dribbles his food.......and makes no reply.

When you say in a loud voice .....'I do wish you'd try!'

Who seems not to notice ....the things that you do.

And forever is losing .............. A sock or shoe?

Who, resisting or not...........lets you do as you will,

With bathing and feeding ... The long day to fill?

Is that what you're thinking?.......Is that what you see?

Then open your eyes,'re not looking at me.

I'll tell you who I am ......... As I sit here so still,

As I do at your bidding, I eat at your will.

I'm a small child of Ten.......with a father and mother,

Brothers and sisters .........who love one another

A young boy of Sixteen ..with wings on his feet

Dreaming that soon now..........a lover he'll meet.

A groom soon at Twenty heart gives a leap.

Remembering, the vows........that I promised to keep.

At Twenty-Five, now ........ I have young of my own.

Who need me to guide ....And a secure happy home.

A man of Thirty ........... My young now grown fast,

Bound to each other ....... With ties that should last.

At Forty, my young sons ....have grown and are gone,

But my woman's beside see I don't mourn.

At Fifty, once more, ......... Babies play 'round my knee,

Again, we know children ........ My loved one and me.

Dark days are upon me ...... My wife is now dead.

I look at the future ............I shudder with dread.

For my young are all rearing......young of their own.

And I think of the years...... And the love that I've known.

I'm now an old man.........and nature is cruel.

'Tis jest to make old age .......look like a fool.

The body, it crumbles..........grace and vigor, depart.

There is now a stone........where I once had a heart.

But inside this old carcass ..... A young guy still dwells,

And now and again battered heart swells.

I remember the joys..............I remember the pain.

And I'm loving and over again.

I think of the years ..all too few......gone too fast.

And accept the stark fact........that nothing can last.

So open your eyes, people and see.

Not a crabby old man.....Look closer....see........ME!!

Remember this poem when you next meet an older person who you might brush aside without looking at the young soul within.....we will all, one day, be there, too!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Its Personal

I believe when we are asked to speak in Church or are given a calling, more times than not, it is our lesson, our guidance, our answer. I believe this to be true for me at this time for I was asked to speak and the subject matter is one I have personally struggled with for a couple of months. I have spent many hours on my knees hoping I would hear his voice, praying the Lord would just, Tell me what he wanted me to do. So when I received that call we all dread that asks us to speak I knew the Lord was listening, and I gratefully accepted with an anticipation of peace, that comes from learning.

In my particular trial of this Mortal life, like many others, I spend most of the time praying for the Lord to guide me in my decisions, and asking for him to tell me what he would have me do; and then the rest of the time I spend needing confirmation. Confirmation of my choices, confirmation that my prayers are heard, confirmation that the Lord is real, is here and does know me personally and will help me with even what may be considered, simple things. Many days, even recently I have found myself, expressing great cries to Heavenly Father, speaking as if I was that father of the afflicted child we read about in the bible when he pleads "Lord if thou canst do anything, have compassion on us, please help me".... and then I wait, I wait to hear something, to feel something, to have my mind enlightened and my heart comforted, I wait to find peace. I wait for Personal Revelation....

Revelation is divine guidance and inspiration from God and Most of what you and I know about Personal Revelation, we have learned from the examples of our leaders, from the examples of our prophets biblical unto present. Through them we have been taught about the need for revelation in the Lords work as well as for personal revelation in our own lives. It is the way we know for ourselves not only about those important decisions and questions we have but also and most importantly about the reality of God, and his son, and the truthfulness of the Gospel. It is the way Heavenly Father helps us know him and his son, and helps us learn and live the gospel that we might endure to the end and have eternal life. It is his way to tell us, he is here, and is aware of each of us.

With this Mortal life that we have, we have been given a responsibility to seek personal revelation for ourselves and for the responsibilities the Lord has given to us. Part of that responsibility in my case has been that of being a mother except for me, for many years, I was a single mother, therefore my responsibilities were a bit difficult. Even so I considered it my greatest and most important job so I sought the council of the Lord and through the years of raising my children, I prayed and cried unto him continually for direction, for help, and even for hope. There was a particular time however back in those days that even to have hope was the greatest of chores, and if ever revelation and guidance was needed in my life it was surely then. You see, after a painful divorce I began a three year period of inactivity from the church. But, I did return, and I returned because of a bishop. In my case my inactivity was interesting in that although I stopped attending church and had decided I didn't believe, that this was all just a nice fairytale someone had made up, I had begun saving my tithing in a jar, and hid it in a dresser in my room so no one would know. I had started saving the tithing again because I had been challenged to a debate by a friend who was a preacher set out to prove the Mormons wrong. Three or four times a week, especially on Sundays, he would study and hit me with questions and rantings and in order to keep up with him and answer his questions, I had to start reading the book of Mormon. After reading for just one week, I began to save my tithing as a gesture to the Lord that I wanted to believe in him, I wanted to believe he had given me a job in order to take care of my children and so I saved ten percent of everything I made for him as a gesture of faith. A month later, after some pretty tough debates, I began to develop a testimony of what I had read and then slowly, with a repentant heart I started to pray. I hid in my closet and in my secret places and prayed that I would know the Lord is real, that it wasn't just a nice story and that he did hear me and was aware of me, I prayed for hope I prayed for help. Two months to the day after the debates started a knock came at my front door and I opened it to find the bishop of a ward I was supposed to be attending. I began to cry. He was shocked at seeing me, as we knew each other, but because my name was different, he had no idea the person he was searching for was me. I asked how he found me, he said he didn't know for sure who I was or if I even lived there but he felt greatly impressed to find me and let me know that the Lord was aware of me and loved me. Before he left I gave him my jar of tithing and asked if he would take care of it for me, for I had made a promise to the Lord to give it to him as a gesture that I wanted to believe. The Bishop was surprised that I had saved it, and said I should come to church and take care of it for it would have much more meaning for me if I personally gave it to the Lord. I returned to church then to rebuild not only my testimony but that of my children and though we needed much work, I have never left again, I had received a very important personal revelation, an answer to the questions of my prayers that were secret, that no one could have ever known, and now I knew that God lives and that he had heard me, I knew that he was indeed real.

Some may say this was merely coincidence but let me tell you also that one year later, I was in a tough place again, I had not wavered in the church, but myself and my children were struggling greatly temporally and physically insomuch that we were losing hope and knew not what to do or where to turn. One night when things had turned particularly bad, even dangerous for us, I knelt in prayer at my bedside and petitioned the Lord for help, I knew that I needed to seek the advice and help of that same bishop who was my bishop but it was a late Saturday night and I knew not what to do so I prayed with all my might and with all my faith that the choices I was about to make were the right ones and if so, would the Lord impress upon the Bishops heart to make room in the coming week for an appointment with me that I might have more direction in gaining safety of my family. That night I asked my teenage children to pray with me and then I asked to them to attend church with me the next day for all of our hope was in the Lord, and together we agreed that it was quite literally all we had. So we attended church the next day and sat in the back of this chapel, and right before sacrament was passed my son Bryan leaned in and said mom what are we gonna do are we gonna be okay, and my daughter looked up at me for answers as my oldest son bowed his head with a sigh red eyed with tears. I told them that I had prayed and asked for heavenly father to touch the heart of the Bishop to talk to us and guide us and I believed he would answer that prayer, then I asked them to reverently take the sacrament and say their prayers for I knew they would be heard. As the meeting came to a close I was preparing to speak to the secretary of the bishop to hopefully set up a meeting but instead as we headed out the door to leave, the bishop left the stand and came right up to me and took my hand. He asked, Dawn am I supposed to see you about something today, did we have an appointment, I feel like I'm supposed to talk to you about children looked at me and I at them and once again I began to cry,.....the Lord had answered and touched the bishops heart, so not only was I making the right choices for the time but he was also providing help through counsel.

You may say this happened because this Bishop new me so well but let me tell you of one more example and I pray that your hearts will be open and these simple tender mercies will touch you as they did me, for they truly did tremendously strengthened me.

About a year and a half later from the time I just spoke of, I was preparing to remarry and build our family once again. I had moved into another ward and my new Bishop was a very dear friend or mine and I was thrilled to have him perform the ceremony, however this wasn't such a happy time as one would imagine. In reality I was terrified to get married again and even three days before my wedding I was writing a dear John letter and planning an escape. Yet, The Lord had answered me before in my prayers and had led me to safety and taken such good care of us that I did not want to forget him in my decision now so after writing the letter and crying until I was dry, I prayed, I prayed one of the most heartfelt prayers I had ever offered at this time in my life because I sincerely wanted to do the right thing. I prayed and prayed for the next three days and hoped I would know what to do as the wedding was in three days.

Well, The day before the wedding was a Sunday and as I hadn't had any real notion of an answer I was just moving forward with my plans and continuing in my prayer hoping I was doing the right thing. I was to meet with my friend who was the Bishop and finalize the ceremony and put it all together yet when I came to sacrament meeting prepared to meet with my Bishop and tell him of my prayers and hope that I would have some guidance and assurance, my Bishop was released from his calling and a new man called as Bishop took the stand. It was someone I had never met in my entire life, I had never even heard of his name before this day, and as I sat in the back of this chapel, with my jaw on the ground in utter astonishment, I began to cry and took this as my answer that things weren't going right so I was not getting married.
With a sunken heart, I silently said a prayer during sacrament that I would know that this man was called of God, that I would know heavenly father had put him here and that I would know that he would be able to lead not only me but my family as well for my worry was not just with a wedding, it was for our lives, And that's when it happened.

After Sacrament had been passed this man got up to speak and something happened to me that I'm not even sure I can describe, there was a feeling not only in my heart but in my whole being, it was a burning of sorts, and when he spoke, tears flowed freely down my cheeks for I saw him glow. Maybe this was just for me and I'm the only one that saw this but I know that I saw and felt the presence of the Lord and I knew this man had been called of God and that this Church and Gospel were true.
When the meeting was over I figured I had to make some kind of an appointment to figure out a wedding and either getting married or not, but I didn't have to for the Lord had heard my petition and knew what I needed. This man when he left the stand at the end of this meeting came right to me without hesitation I didn't even have time to get out of my seat before he reached me. He shook my hand and said to me that he knew I must be in a state about all this but not to worry for all is was in order and everything would be handled and be wonderful. We would meet later to put it all together and he said he looked forward to the wedding and working with me and my family. For me that was my answer, how hard is it to try and talk to a Bishop after sacrament and especially a new one that has been called, yet he came right to me with specific answers to my private prayers. So not only was I getting married, but I had a witness that the Bishop had been called not only to help but for many more things that would come.

Now because I am Mortal, human, I still from time to time, forget to remember these important answers that have come to me and I find myself asking again and again, How do I seek personal revelation? Am I doing it right, does he hear me, will he come to my aide? My answer was found in my study for this talk.
The apostle Paul counsels us to rely upon the spirit rather than the wisdom of the world, and to do so we must begin with prayer which provides the foundation we need in order to receive the answers we seek, however there is more. The Gospel of Jesus Christ centers on the atonement, we receive the blessings of the atonement when we repent of our sins and keep the commandments. As we continue in righteousness we qualify ourselves to receive personal revelation, Thus we must prepare as our leaders and prophets do with scripture study, fasting, praying and building faith, with faith being the key for by unwavering faith we learn for ourselves that that miracles are wrought.

These miracles that we seek and witness are personal in nature, and usually not big demonstrations. For we know that our Prophet receives revelation for the church as a whole and our leaders for their particular callings but we receives things on a personal level, to help us in our lives and these revelations come as tender mercies the Lord bestows upon us through such things as, impressions, ideas, feelings of peace and assurance, dreams, bringing to mind a memory of something we read or learned heard or saw, guidance or help from a leader or friend, and giving us strength to meet our challenges and comfort to bear up our sorrows. These are examples of the personal revelations that come to us, and they come as we endure the trial of our faith which most of the time is enduring the time it takes before an answer is received for revelation comes on the Lords timetable, when it is best for us to have it, thus we must move forward in faith, even if we haven't received all that we seek.

And so with this I come back to myself and the last two very difficult months I've had and the need for answers. Why am I not hearing the Lord, why don't I know what to do, reading a 2007 conference talk by Robert D Hales who is so dear to me and has many of his own trials I am reminded that a vital principle of seeking personal revelation is that you must study it out in your mind first. We must ponder, pray and then, listen to the voice of the spirit. We must develop a spirit of reverence. He counsels to kneel in prayer, then ponder then kneel in prayer again and ponder upon the things you have prayed about; prepare yourself to receive the answer, and continue to seek Heavenly Fathers will as you move forward in faith. Simple sincere heartfelt prayers will bring spiritual guidance.
He further counsels that we may receive personal revelation more than we realize and the more we begin to acknowledge them the more our testimonies will grow. While we are commanded not to seek after signs, we are commanded to seek earnestly the best gifts, these gifts include the holy ghost and personal revelation and that revelation will come line upon line, precept upon precept.

What did I learn today: I have learned, and am reminded that through prayer, asking in humility and faith with sincere intensity my need for direction and help will be heard. I further have learned that I am prone to be impatient and want instant answers and help. Heavenly Father always answers prayers but he does it in his own way and time that is best for me. It is my trial to have faith enough to wait upon him and listen when he speaks.

What will I remember:
I will remember that The spirit will not get my attention by making me afraid or by shouting or shaking but rather it will whisper and caress me so gently that if I am preoccupied I may not feel see or hear it at all, therefore I must remain prepared and in harmony with the Gospel at all times, that I may know the voice of the Lord.

What is to come:
My strengthened testimony this day that I do know God , His son Jesus Christ and the Gospel are real, that he is aware of me and knows me by name and that if I do my best to stay in harmony with the teachings of the Lord I will have peace and joy and I will again hear that still small voice.

This is my testimony and prayer for each and every one of us, for all of his children in the name of Jesus Christ Amen.