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What is of greatest worth?

๐–๐ก๐š๐ญ ๐ข๐ฌ ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐ ๐ซ๐ž๐š๐ญ๐ž๐ฌ๐ญ ๐ฐ๐จ๐ซ๐ญ๐ก ๐ญ๐จ ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ?
Itโ€™s a question that often crosses my mind.
For a large portion of my adult life, I have been an ordained minister of religion.
As such, I have met with many people who in their older years were preparing to depart this life and pass through โ€œthe gateway we call deathโ€ โ€“ Russell M. Nelson.
I treasure the many sweet memories that Iโ€™ve been blessed to have with family members and dear friends who have already passed beyond the veil of death.

Family and Faith

Visiting with those in the closing days of life, weโ€™d frequently reminisce about those things of greatest worth, namely, family, friends, experiences and ultimately for many, their faith in and encounters with Jesus Christ.
Cherished family experiences and special tender moments are shared in a very intimate manner.
Truths are shared lovingly and freely.
Special insights, sweet stories, incredible experiences, along with miracles and wonders are commonplace, as the individual approaches deathโ€™s door and shares what matters most.
During those tender moments, attentively listening, loving, caring, sharing, spending time and being fully present is key.
A multitude of moments have been etched into my memory, in turn enriching my experience of life.

Scriptures

In my personal study of the scriptures, I have found great comfort in both the Bible and the Book of Mormon.
Reading the final chapters of Nephi (2 Nephi 33), Jacob (Jacob 7), Mormon (Mormon 7) and Moroni (Moroni 10) โ€“ these remarkable prophet/writers provide some insights into those things that may be of greatest worth to all of us.
Each of them shared a similar experience in their livesโ€™, namely they all had a personal experience with Jesus Christ.
And so, fittingly perhaps, their closing words recorded in the final chapters of their respective books, give us a deep, meaningful look into their hearts, minds and very souls.
Moroni 10:32 โ€œYea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.โ€
Moroniโ€™s testimony and invitation to โ€œcome unto Christโ€ is a powerful and enduring one that has impacted generations of people the world over.
Like so many others, I hope that each of us will have faith in and encounter Jesus Christ in our life.
What is of greatest worth to you?

Friendship

What new friendships have you made this year?
Reflecting this morning, on the year gone by, I got to thinking about all my friendships anew.
There have been many, all across the world.
A friend cares.
A friend is honest.
A friend reaches out.
A friend listens.
A friend loves.
To all my friends old and new, I discovered a poem that encapsulates how I feel about each of you. I have no idea who wrote it. Enjoy.

“๐€ ๐…๐ซ๐ข๐ž๐ง๐ ๐‹๐ข๐ค๐ž ๐˜๐จ๐ฎ”

Thereโ€™s a tenderness comes stealing
Oโ€™er this heart of mine today
And a warm and happy feeling
That can never fade away;
Just a feeling that is growing
Every day each long year through โ€“
Itโ€™s the joy that comes through knowing
That I have a friend like you.
Round my heart are memories clinging
Of the golden days of old.
And they set my soul a-singing
With a happiness untold.
Yes, our pulsing heart throbs, treasured
Through the years of friendship true
Make me prize the love unmeasured
Of a good old friend like you.
Every passing day I wish you
All the joy your heart will hold;
May success be always with you
As the coming years unfold.
That the fast-approaching morrows
May see all your dreams come true
And contain but minor sorrows,
In my wish, dear friend, for you.
May our friendship grow and strengthen
In the misty years to come,
So that when lifeโ€™s shadows lengthen
And our mortal race is run,
We may still be friends united โ€“
Still be comrades staunch and true;
That our ways may eโ€™er be lighted,
Yours by me and mine by you.
To all my friends old and new, I hope that 2022, brings you all your hopes and dreams you could ever wish for.
From one good friend to another – Much Love. ๐Ÿ’•

Friendship

And that’s the end of our first full month (already!), back home in the Netherlands.

One thing that has struck me is the importance of ๐Ÿ๐ซ๐ข๐ž๐ง๐๐ฌ๐ก๐ข๐ฉ.

We have spent a large chunk of our first month making lots of new friends and reacquainting ourselves with many old ones too.

As we have visited together, we have laughed, cried, talked, sung, enjoyed meals, walked, played games, hugged, encouraged, helped and above all really listened to one another’s stories and experiences.

It has been a real joy to be with such wonderful friends.

My experience is that all of our interactions together are made more enjoyable and productive when they are accompanied by genuine feelings of friendship.

I remember years ago the counsel from Ralph Waldo Emerson who said โ€œ๐“๐ก๐ž ๐จ๐ง๐ฅ๐ฒ ๐ฐ๐š๐ฒ ๐ญ๐จ ๐ก๐š๐ฏ๐ž ๐š ๐Ÿ๐ซ๐ข๐ž๐ง๐ ๐ข๐ฌ ๐ญ๐จ ๐›๐ž ๐จ๐ง๐ž.โ€

To be a good friend, show genuine interest in others, smile, care about them, be kind, be grateful and show respect. Above all…

– ๐๐ž Real
– ๐๐ž You
– ๐๐ž your authentic self!

Being who you are is key!

What kind of friend are you?