I will miss Jerry; in a world where so many give up and give in so quickly, his “I can do it” mentality was a refreshing contrast. Things didn’t always work out the way he wanted but he didn’t give up often or easily. He tried to do all he could and then some…and he wasn’t shy about bringing others along with him either. That was one of his incredible strengths.
Jerry had hope in a better future; that the things he did or didn’t do in this life had an impact on whatever came next. He didn’t come to this understanding right away but a lifetime of experience gave him a testimony that it was so. Learning from his example, we should have faith and also believe in the hope of a better future. Our futures lead ultimately to a glorious resurrection, our spirits restored to our bodies never again to be separated.
As we study and ponder that which the Lord would have us do, it’s vitally important that we consider the context of divine guidance we’re given; the simple fact that He sees us as we truly are. He doesn’t see us with mortal earthly eyes as we see ourselves. He doesn’t see the flaws and the physical limitations. He doesn’t see our bad attitudes and scowls. He knows, without doubt, what we are truly capable of becoming because he can see it now, today, in each of us.
Our life, our purpose; it’s all about learning to see what He sees and not limiting our vision to mere earthly perspective. We need to change and grow to the potential the Lord sees in us. We have to overcome the limitations we see in ourselves as well as limitations others may choose to see or impose on us. We need to strive to see what Christ sees. In ourselves and each other.
The Gospel leads us to this concept of change, a concept we too often misinterpret as learning to “act” differently, but the real message is simply genuine and sincere change. The daily “acts” we perform should inspire us to transform ourselves and turn our wills to the Lord. We all have the capability to change but the process isn’t really the same for any of us. It will be easier for some and that’s okay. None of us walk the same path.
I have no doubt that, in advance of his coming to earth, Jerry had a vision of what he wanted to achieve. He knew in that prior life that his earthly life was going to have challenges. He had a vote and he chose to come here and live the life he was given. Knowing the cost, the pain, and the suffering, he still came.
He knew there was to be great joy as well.
He came with a vision of a new day, a new glorious day. A day when his eternal spirit would reunite with his body and he would be raised to eternal life with his family. He knew it would take perseverance, endurance, and faith to achieve. He knew it would be a marathon and not a sprint.
Day-to-day we can get so wrapped up in worrying about what we think the Lord intends for us, trying to find some “perfect” path, so much so that we might not realize just how much our simple decisions matter. We really need to worry less about choosing the “perfect” path and simply choose what we think is right in each moment we’re given. The Lord doesn’t orchestrate one single perfect path for us. He holds agency very dear and he’s not going to override our agency in order to make only one decision, or one path, right for us and our future.
In some ways Jerry walked a very rough path. He questioned sometimes where he was on his path but kept moving forward. He just kept making the best decisions he could, right or wrong, given the circumstances and, when not right, he’d reset and move forward again. The Lord certainly knows the path we’ll each take but He forces us down no specific path.
With prayer and faith, we can be successful and we can overcome hardships. As with Jerry, the hardships we face may not always be overcome in this life but we can ultimately overcome them through the Atonement. Even so, we are all blessed with the capability to be happy in our given circumstances; here, today. We can do it. I think Jerry did it.
As mortal beings we are fixed in single moments, the Lord is not. He sees us in the limitless frame of eternity. The miracle of forgiveness leads us to an infinite Atonement that allows a lifetime of imperfect steps to lead us to a perfected eternal life with our Father in Heaven. If we commit ourselves to do so, we each have the capability to walk a path that leads us home. We do not and will never travel the path alone.
On Jerry’s path, as with all of us, many things didn’t work out perfectly; but many did. He tried to be happy with what he was given and with what he accomplished. We each are celestial beings with divine heritage and, as far as I’m concerned, Jerry embodied that; not because he was any more or less perfect than the rest of us, but because he kept trying despite things that didn’t go the way he wanted them to. Even though his physical condition continued to deteriorate, he kept doing everything he could until he couldn’t.
Too often, many of us give in at early signs of resistance and that just wasn’t Jerry’s way. Jerry is and has been a good friend and he’s set an example that I would like to emulate. I have no doubt that he’s already hard at work preparing for that wonderful day when we will all see one another again.