“Death is not the end; it is putting out the candle because the dawn has come.” Thus spake Pres. Hugh B. Brown. And thus echo I.
Upon returning to Utah, I took the train down to Lehi and Kimball picked me up. We made it to my van, grabbed some grub at Costa Vida, and then headed to Riverton for the funeral of Lawson’s father, Dan Lighten. I am so thankful I could go. I left tearful, yet very inspired and uplifted. Lawson did a fantastic job, and I felt proud to know him. It’s crazy to think that only two weeks before I had seen Dan, and never would have guessed that his time on earth was almost done. Since late 2018, the family has known the time was near. So many of those we pass are struggling with things we can’t imagine, and yet never complain or make a scene. I pray that the Lighten family will be comforted during this time.
Returning to Provo after, I had half an hour to get ready and then picked up my date, Kathryn, to head to the Pioneer Day concert. My roommate Tyler and his girlfriend Cat joined us. We made it to the Conference Center just barely before the start (I may or may not have driven down the wrong side of a road attempting to find the parking garage…). The concert featured the Norwegian singer, Sissel, and she was fantastic! Elegant, genuine, and powerful. Some of the songs were in norweigan, and the program also featured a medley of old railroad songs. My favorite was “How Great Thou Art,” sung in both english and norwegian. It was a fantastic date, and we seemed to get along fantastically. She is one of thirteen children, and grew up on a small farm in Orem. Recently graduated in Global Supply Chain management and working as a consultant, she actually served in the Tempe Mission at the same time as me, but our paths never crossed.
Sunday I invited a few friends over, grilled some steaks (poorly this time) and made rice and beans. Colored by a “vinagarette” salad, and spiced up with some farofa, it was a good Brazilian meal. Between lots of trips, this was my quiet week.
Tuesday saw the return of our Come Follow Me group. We had a good turnout, joined for the first time by another ward member, Tammy, and great insightful discussion.
I was pleasantly surprised to receive a text from Pres. Young asking if he could buy two pies. I made them Saturday morning and then Kimball and I drove to drop them off. It was a brief hello, and then we headed over to the oldest remaining golf course in Utah, Nibley Park, which was nearby. The land had been donated in the 1920’s with the condition that it stay a golf course, or be returned to the family. The city has grown much since then, and now the course is an urban oasis, surrounded by multi-lane roads on all sides. Nevertheless, heavily wooded, it feels completely different. It has remained very characteristic of the era it was built with raised greens sloping off on all sides. And being in the city, it is impossible to lengthen it anymore, so many of the holes only played to 300-350 yards. Which meant I could drive a couple, which is always fun. The weather was perfect, and we had a great time.
For the fourth Sunday, the Elders Quorum Presidency taught during the second hour of church. We split into three groups, and Jacob, Dillon, and I each led discussions for one of the three groups. The conference talk we studied for the week was Elder Quentin Cook’s, “Great Love for Our Father’s Children.” In our group, we ended up focusing on some verses in 1 John. One of these was 1 John 4:18-21:
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.We love him him, because he first loved us. If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God loveth his brother also.”
And now my all-time favorite line from a movie:
“The only way to be happy is to love. Unless you love, your life will flash by.”
Love is the key. I know that if we ask for the gift of charity and earnestly seek to develop it, God will bless us with it. And if we serve our fellow men, we will one day stand before God, see his face, and be able to say that we love Him.