Thursday, August 23, 2012
There’s a book called Seven Choices for Success and Significance by Dr. Nido R. Qubein. In this book he defines success as secular and significance as spiritual. He says, “Success focuses on three Fs: fans, fame, and fortune. It focuses on tasks and goals. Significance also focuses on three Fs: faith, family and friends. Significance focuses on purpose: Why am I here? What do I do with the talents, experiences and skills that I have? How can I make the world a better place? How do I plant seeds of greatness in the lives of those around me? How do I make an impact in the circles of influence where I find or place myself?”
With that in mind he says we can choose success (temporal) and significance (spiritual). To choose both we must be a strategic thinker and must do the following things:
1. Have a clear vision of what we want to accomplish.
2. Develop a solid strategy that answers three questions: Who or what am I today? Who do I want to become? How do I get there?
3. Employ practical systems to achieve the goals
4. Commit to consistent execution because in consistency, success emerges. This is one that the Prophet Alma, in the Book of Mormon, has taught: “By small and simple things are great things brought to pass.”
Dr. Qubein then tells us how to implement our strategic plan for success with his three Ds:
Decide what you want to achieve
Determine the first step to getting what you want
Do the first thing that will start you moving toward your goal.
I think Buddy illustrated these principles in his life. He committed two years of his life to serving an honorable mission for the Savior, Jesus Christ. He wanted a loving wife, who lives the gospel and would marry him for time and all eternity. They found each other. He wanted to be able to provide for a family. So he worked multiple jobs while going to school, which would enable him to provide for them. He trusted in the Lord and willingly served in positions in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in whatever capacity he was asked. He spent as much time as he could with his growing family and cried over them, with them, and rejoiced at the great blessing they are in his life. He loved to tell the stories of their daily lives. He was pleased and laughed freely at the things they did. This is how we knew he had joy. They are the jewels in his crown and he is proud of each of them and wants them to rise from the ashes of the refiner’s fire to achieve all the Father has to offer each of them.
As the patriarch of his family he influences them even now, encourages them, laughs with them, feels their sorrow, but he sees the entire picture now, from where he is. He holds them dear and knows they will make a significant difference in the lives of many because they will focus on their faith in being together forever because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and promises made to each of us by that sacrifice. Our very existence is based on becoming a together forever family and lifting our friends by sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with them so they can live again with our Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ and have their families forever through covenants they make in the temple.
Mortality is a drop in the bucket of eternity. Success is part of our temporal sphere. Buddy was a success because he chose those things that bring temporal happiness to all those with whom he associated. He achieved spiritual significance because of the choices he made to seek eternal life through obedience to the laws of God and through the covenants and promises he made in the temple. He put on the whole armor of God and marched through life fearlessly. He did this with humility--not wanting to bring attention to himself. On his Buddy Run Shirt Heather described three characteristics of him: Perseverance, Determination, and Humility. The first letter of each word is PH.D. He never received a PH.D from a university, but those three characteristics are greater than any degree that can be conferred by a university. The crown of glory reserved for him will be one he will wear with pride when it is bestowed upon him. That crown will be his family. He was asked to leave them here for a greater purpose, that we have not been privileged to see. I wish every hour we could know why he had to be snatched from us. I guess each of us will wonder that all of our lives.
I heard him preach the gospel to a man when we picked him up from his mission. Buddy spoke with sincerity and with conviction and the truth always is felt by the spirit within us. I felt great joy in seeing the change from boy to manhood that his mission brought to him. He was serious about what he had committed to do in those two years. I knew he would continue on the path we started him on and he would bring great joy into our lives continually.
I speak now as a mother who has lost a son in this life. I know the pain of Mary, the mother of Jesus, as she watched her son killed by those who did not feel the love, the hope, and promise our Lord offered to them. I know the depths of despair and hurt that reached to the core of her being. She endured all that was asked of her in this life and so I am determined to do as generations upon generations of mothers have done before me, for I am not alone in belonging to the club of mothers who have buried their adult children. I did not bury an infant or young child. But the pain is acute regardless of the age. A mother loves with her whole being. The love a woman feels for the father of her children is not measurable by man. But the love for the child they bring forth together is significantly multiplied. It is spiritual in all ways. This is one reason we are taught to not take procreation lightly, that the power to procreate is sacred and should be guarded and only used within the bonds of marriage. Having children in our lives is the greatest gift we are given in this life. It is significant. So when a child is lost to death prematurely, the father and mother lose a significant part of themselves. Because we lose them, a part of us is taken with them and we yearn to have them back so we can feel whole again.
Would I resign my role in life as wife and mother so I would never feel this pain? Never. Buddy was a gift to us. He was only ours for a short while. Each child is loaned to us to teach us to love, to learn how to nurture, to learn joy, to train up in the way they should go, to teach us sorrow, faith, hope, etc. and to give all of ourselves to them. It will never be enough time as long as we are mortal.
This is not a blog of sorrow, but will be one for sharing the journey of healing. We cannot dwell on all the things we will not get to do with our son, husband, father, and brother. Nor can those who read this. We must begin each day focused on significance. For Heather she is here to raise her children and she has a great talent for rearing strong children. They are kind, smart, talented, and obedient. I have seen her plant the seeds of greatness in each of their lives with infinite love and patience. She has great joy and rejoicing in her posterity and that will grow as they grow and add others to our family. She helps them realize their dreams and never discourages them from trying new things so they come to know where their talents are. I hope she will come to realize she can do all that is asked of her. She has been prepared to move forward in her life. I have seen phenomenal growth in her in the time we have been able to call her daughter. From girlhood to womanhood, she has grown into a person committed to significance within her sphere. We love the woman she is and look forward to seeing the final product one day as she stands next to her beloved and brings each of their children to stand in the unbroken chain that is our eternal family.
No one else is responsible for our success or our joy. We must search for it ourselves. We must “live life from the inside out.” Significance, which is our ultimate goal, comes from the things we do for ourselves to strengthen us so we can move forward. They seem so simple: we feed our spirit through prayer and scripture study and by renewing our baptismal covenant each week by partaking of the sacrament and participating in gospel discussions. Regular temple attendance will bring us closer to those we have "lost." They are not really lost, but just not visible to us. We feed our physical body with the things that will make us strong enough to face the challenges that lie ahead and we exercise regularly so we will not be weary. These are simple things, but as Alma taught, "By small and simple things are great things brought to pass."
Today is another day to become significant in the lives of those we meet. We will always mourn for the ones we have lost. But we must live here and earn our crown of glory. I am eternally grateful for my son. I have struggled with knowing how to move forward. I know that writing of my joy is the best way to do that. Share with me how you have healed. Together we can find joy to sustain us until we are reunited with all those we love who have passed through the veil.