Saturday morning, after an early missionary correlation meeting, I met the father of our outstanding Ward Mission Leader. He was just here for a few days, visiting from Pocatello. After the meeting, he told me a couple key parts of his life: seven missions including service in India and Malaysia, a marriage filled with service and love, the duty of caring for his wife as she suffered from Alzheimers, the release from that service when she passed away recently, and his summary: “It’s been a good life.”
There was such depth to his words as he spoke. It wasn’t so much what he said as who he was and Who he followed. I was in the presence of a servant of the Lord who loves the Lord’s children, a man whose life had been filled with righteous accomplishment, and it was inspiring. It made me resolved to press on with more vigor and faithfulness.
As this energetic and loving man told me a few parts of his story and mentioned the long caring for his disabled wife, I had a strange and moving experience of visualizing her rushing toward him – in the spirit world, I suppose – as a swirl of motion and color wrapping around him and tenderly thanking him for every moment of service, for every act of kindness to her while she was incapacitated and seemingly unaware or out of her mind. It all mattered. It all counted. It was all appreciated, deeply. It was hard to keep my eyes dry as this image passed through my mind.
Interestingly, one of the first things I heard this man say that day was his testimony of how precious the souls are of mentally handicapped children, how they are every bit as important as any of us and that they may represent some of the finest and purest souls the Lord has sent to earth.
I am grateful for the example of those who care for the disabled with patience and love. It may seem to be the most thankless of all service, but my encounter with this man left me convinced that great will be the reward of those who selflessly and lovingly care for a child, spouse, parent, or other relative or friend in their time of need.
How sacred the gift of life is!