My Father’s Good-Bye
I remember one of the last sacrament meetings my father ever attended. After fighting cancer for a year, my dad was reaching the end of his life. The opening hymn that day at church was “Come, Come, Ye Saints” (Hymns, no. 30).
I peered down the row to look at my dad. He was crying. I moved down the bench to sit next to him and asked him if he was crying because of the pain or the song. As we sang, “And should we die before our journey’s through,” he looked straight into my eyes, and I knew that he was leaving us.
Now it brings me peace when I finish the rest of the song: “Happy day! All is well! We then are free from toil and sorrow, too; With the just we shall dwell!” This song of comfort is part of my father’s legacy to me.
Hymns for Yuki
I had the privilege of spending four weeks in Kofu, Japan, with my good friend Yuki and her family. Having the Spirit as my guide helped me to share my beliefs with Yuki.
One day I purchased a small Church hymnbook in Japanese at the distribution center. A few days later I felt impressed to give Yuki my hymnbook. I thought about how weird this was because I had purchased the hymnbook for myself and not for her. Nevertheless, I gave her the hymnbook. I felt a little better, knowing I had done what I was prompted to do.
A while later, we were playing music downstairs, and Yuki told me she wanted to sing the hymns. I played some of the hymns on the piano while she sang in Japanese. I had a feeling of pure joy listening to my friend singing the songs I knew so well. Even though I did not know all the words to follow along, the Spirit was strong. I am very grateful I followed the promptings of the Spirit.
A Reason Not To
“Hey, McKeown, you don’t drink, do you?” Andrew asked loudly enough that everyone around us could hear. I was at a school event I had helped organize, and now the evening looked like it was going to be ruined.
Andrew was a key player on the rugby team, always the center of attention, and he’d clearly been drinking. He often boasted of his immorality and made fun of anyone who was different. It seemed that now it was my turn.
“Hey, Andrew,” I said, trying to act cool, but a few people around me were already laughing.
Andrew kept on going: “You don’t smoke. You don’t do drugs. You don’t swear. You don’t have my kind of fun with girls. What do you do?”
I felt like hiding in a corner, but instead I tried to hold my ground. “You know I like to have fun,” I said. “I just like to be able to remember it in the morning.” Some of my friends laughed. “I like to be able to remember and not have to regret it.”
Later, the crowd left, but Andrew stayed. He had calmed down by now. He said quietly, “McKeown, I wish I didn’t drink either. I wish I didn’t do the things I do. But I have no reason not to. I wish I had some reasons not to.” And with that he walked slowly away.
I was shocked. I had no idea he had been watching me. And now it seemed he admired me for standing up for my standards and for having reasons to live right. I have never forgotten that evening.
I have often thought about how being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is my reason for living right. I’ve also thought about how knowing I am a child of God and a priesthood holder gives me the reasons to choose the right when confronted with choices and temptations. When we remember who we are, we have the reasons to say no to evil and yes to the Lord.
One of my favorite scriptures that has helped me out in my times of trials and tribulations is Helaman 5:12 [Hel. 5:12]: “Remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, … when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power to drag you down.”
This scripture has taught me that if I build my foundation on Jesus Christ our Savior and do what is right, even in my difficulties and in times when Satan is pushing on me the most, I cannot fall. I truly believe that Jesus is the rock that we should build our foundation on, that He will always help and guide us.