Carls Talk from Dad's Funeral April 24th 2010
Brothers and sisters I want to begin by saying thank you for being here to celebrate the life of a great man who will truly be missed.
I wish my talk today was going to be about procrastination because I have a great experience for that. In fact I am going to share it with you anyway. For those of you who knew my dad you know he was always very prepared and organized so this will make sense to you. About three years ago, I received a phone call from my mom. She said, “Carl, your dad and I are putting together the program for your dads funeral and I’m calling to ask if you would be willing to talk at his funeral”? I said yes, and of course as is so easy to do I thought that day would never come when I would have to be standing in this spot. Yet here we are, and of course I waited until after he passed to prepare. Moral of the story is, do not put off things until the last minute.
Today I’m going to speak about: Eternal perspective
The plan of happiness was established and set forth before the world was. Those who chose to partake in this plan fully understood and agreed to it. I am going to discuss three portions of the plan; Mortal Life, Physical Death, and the Resurrection.
Mortal Life: This is what we are now experiencing. Our spirits are united with our bodies, giving us opportunities to grow and develop in ways that were not possible in premortal life.
Elder Russell M. Nelson taught:
Mourning is part of this mortal life. Regardless of age we mourn for those loved and lost. Mourning is one of the deepest expressions of pure love. It is a natural response in complete accord with divine commandment: “Thou shalt live together in love, insomuch that thou shalt weep for the loss of them that die”. (D&C 42:45)
Additionally we cannot fully appreciate joyful reunions later without tearful separations now. The only way to take sorrow out of death is to take love out of life.
An Eternal perspective provides peace:
Life does not begin with birth, nor does it end with death. Prior to our birth we lived with our Father in Heaven. While there we anxiously anticipated the opportunities of coming to earth to gain a physical body. All the while we knew the risks mortality would bring, the ability to choose and be accountable for our choices. “This life [was to become] a probationary state; a time to prepare to meet God.” (Alma 12:24.).
The best and most anticipated part of this wonderful plan was returning home. As with any trip we take we want to have some assurance that we have a round trip ticket. “Returning to our heavenly home requires passage through and not around the doors of death. We were born to die, and we die to live. (See 2 Cor. 6:9.)
As seedlings of God, we barely blossom on earth; we fully flower in heaven.
It has been said that poets are next to prophets as they, too, have a way of stirring our souls. The following poem by an unknown author represents well what I think my dad is thinking now.
Don't grieve for me, for now I'm free. I'm following the path God has laid, you see. I took His hand when I heard His call. I turned my back and left it all.
I could not stay another day, To laugh, to love, to work or play. Tasks left undone must stay that way, I found the peace at the close of day.
If my parting has left a void, Then fill it with remembered joys. A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss, yes, these things I too will miss.
Be not burdened with times of sorrow. I wish you the sunshine of tomorrow. My life's been full, I savored much, Good friends, good times, a loved one's touch.
Don't lengthen it now with undue grief. Lift up your hearts, and peace to thee. God wanted me now, He set me free
Elder Nelson said: “Our limited perspective would be enlarged if we could witness the reunion on the other side of the veil, when doors of death open to those returning home. As was the vision of the psalmist who wrote, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” (Ps. 116:15.)
Why you might ask? Well because they are coming home.
Physical death is truly part of this wonderful plan
Physical death: is simply the separation of our mortal physical body with our immortal spirit.
an old Greek Tragedy written around the fall of Athens, a Roman General had captured an Athenian Philosopher and told the Athenian that he meant to put him to death; the Athenian did not seem very disturbed; so the Roman thought that he probably didn’t understand, and he said to the Athenian that maybe he didn’t know what it meant to die. But the Athenian said that he thought he understood it better than the Roman, and then he said to the Roman, “Thou dost not know what it means to die for thou dost not know what it means to live. To die is to begin to live. It is to end all stale and worry work to begin a nobler and better work. It is to leave deceitful navies for the society of Gods and goodness”.
One of my Dads great heroes is Moroni, the son of Mormon who witnessed the terrible destruction of the Nephite people then he himself faced a sad fate.
Moroni lived 36 years alone on the earth. His father and all his family had been slain. He had no warm home or someone to fix him dinner. Like his hero my Father had struggled for 16 years with his health the last four being very exhausting. We might think they were discouraged. But this was not the case for either of them, I think Moroni’s words at the end of his book represent both of them well. Read Moroni 10:34.
The poet Robert Norwood wrote:
At First when you are gone I turned my face
From life and sat upon a lonely place
Apart from men, bewailed but nursed my sorrow
And, loving yesterday, I loathed tomorrow.
Then suddenly you said, “O foolish one,
Awake, there are no dead—I am your own!”
And then above my sorrow and my strife
I found the Resurrection and the life
In a talk given in 1989 my dad bore his testimony of “the Last Hour”.
I quote “Oh might we not find ourselves coming up short at the end. Might we heed the words of our Lord and Savior as he whispers to our very souls –Follow Me-
I bear witness from the very depths of my being that this is so”
He had a knowledge of what was needed and lived up to it.
My dad lived a wonderful life providing a great example. He was always focused on the gospel and his family. I recall a time when someone asked him what his hobbies were and he kind of laughed and said, “Well I have a family and I serve in the church, there is not much time for anything else.” He bore his testimony by the way he lived his life.
Read Exert From Journal:
“On Monday, December the 7th, as I was doing some things about 10:00 o’clock in the morning down at the church house, I became very disoriented and weak; and for the first time, I passed out; and, I thought, perhaps, I was leaving the earth. I told Heavenly Father as I was passing out, I thought this would be a very easy way to go. Then, immediately it seemed, I began to regain consciousness, and told Heavenly Father I saw the destroying angel leave. The very next moment, Sister Marie Jamone, the custodian of the meeting- house, saw me and wanted to call my wife to get down and see me. I told her I didn’t think it was necessary, but she did anyway. I rested for about ten minutes and drove myself home. I lay down on the couch for about 1 5 minutes, and then got up and started packing for our temple week in Albuquerque.”
Resurrection: Because Jesus Christ was resurrected we all will be resurrected.
One afternoon a boy and his father were traveling in a car when a bee flew through the open window. The boy was so highly allergic to bee stings that both he and his father knew that his life was in danger. As the boy frantically jumped around and tried to avoid the agitated bee, the father calmly reached out and grabbed the bee. When he opened his hand, the bee began to fly again, terrorizing the boy once more. The father then said “Look son”, holding up a hand with the implanted stinger, “his stinger is gone”, he can’t hurt you any longer”.
As a bee loses its stinger when it stings so death lost its sting when it was absorbed by our Lord and Savior.
The scriptures help us understand some things about death and resurrection.
READ John 11:18-27
The Book of Mormon prophet Abinadi similarly taught: “The grave hath no victory, and the sting of death is swallowed up in Christ. He is the light and the life of the world; yea, a light that is endless, that can never be darkened; yea, and also a life which is endless, that there can be no more death” (Mosiah 16:8–9).
For my father, the pain of his mortal life is gone. Gone are the suffering, sickness and worries. And he is again acquainted with many he loved and upon the morning of the resurrection his spirit will be reunited with his perfected body to die no more but to live eternally in peace and happiness.
As I mentioned before my dad was always about family, playing football and teaching us how to catch a driller in the back yard, or putting us to work around the yard. A recent memory shows his spirit. In September 2008 we were in Miami to watch a football game and one evening we went to Miami’s south beach. It was rainy so we were practically the only people there. He played in the water as though he was an 8-year-old boy. Because he was weak the water threw him around with ease and he loved it. Over and over again he said, “I wish your mother was here to enjoy this with me.” And I know he is thinking the same thing now.