It's our relationships that matter the most

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Through life’s experience, we have the opportunity to learn valuable lessons and truths. If we will listen, can learn these truths from those to whom we’re closest who mean the most to us.

It was my father who, just before his death, reminded me of what matters most.

We shared a small parcel of ground where we had a dog kennel. Almost every day I would meet him as we went to get our dogs. It was not uncommon for us to take extra time and just talk. My

father, who started our family life with not much to speak of in material possessions, was a self-made man who worked very hard and, over time, acquired much. He spoke these words as we looked out over his home and property: “Son, these things really don’t mean much. What I have learned is that relationships are what really matter most. It is that irreplaceable feeling of being loved and loving

someone else.”

The following is a favorite song of mine. The message is to our children, but it has always had a very powerful effect in my life. Its title is “I’m Trying to Be Like

Jesus,” and it is found in The Children’s Songbook, with words and music by Janice Kapp Perry.

“I’m trying to be like Jesus; I’m following in his ways. I’m trying to love as he did, in all that I do and say. At times I am tempted to make a wrong choice,

But I try to listen as the still small voice whispers, ‘Love one another as Jesus loves you.

Try to show kindness in all that you do.

Be gentle and loving in deed and in thought, For these are the things Jesus taught.’

I’m trying to love my neighbor; l’m learning to serve my friends. I watch for the day of gladness when Jesus will come again.

I try to remember the lessons he taught.

Then the Holy Spirit enters into my thoughts, saying:

‘Love one another as Jesus loves you.

Try to show kindness in allthat you do.

Be gentle and loving in deed and in thought,

For these are the things Jesus taught.’”

This beautiful song is referenced to the Savior’s words found in The New Testament, John 13:34:

“A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.”

President Thomas S. Monson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has distinguished between what matters most, what is important and what is not important, in the following statement:

“What is most important almost always involves the people around us. Often we assume that they must know how much we love them. But we should never assume; we should let them know. Wrote William Shakespeare, ‘They do not love that do not show their love.’ We will never regret the kind words spoken or the affection shown. Rather our regrets will come if such things are omitted from our relationships with those who mean the most to us.”

“Despite the changes that come in our lives, may we fill our days as much as we can with those things that matter most. May we cherish those that we hold dear and express our love for them in word and deed. Send that note to a friend you have been neglecting, give your child a hug, give your parents a hug. Say ‘l love you’ more; always express your thanks. Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved.”

I am grateful for those who have taught me what really matters most. Now, as I grow older, I see these truths more clearly. My life has always been happier when I try to be more like Jesus and try to show love as he did — especially when I focus on those who are most dear to me, my family. I invite all to follow the Savior, try to love as he does, and feel his love fill your hearts.

Daniel W. Leonard is president of the Walla Walla Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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