Friday, July 29, 2011

Don's Talk

An earlier post mentions that my brother Don (who has Cerebral Palsy and is quadriplegic) gave his first talk in Church two weeks ago. Don's 41 years old. It's about time we got to learn from him!

He and my dad give a presentation each semester in one of the classes on campus at BYU-Idaho, so he's accustomed to an audience. I admit I was more nervous for him than he was. I kept giving him unsolicited (and conflicting) advice, like "Picture everyone wearing pink bunny suits" or "Just don't look at anyone" or "Just look at me and pretend we're having a conversation." He took it all in stride and let me be anxious for him (it was the least he could do for his over-protective sister).

But he didn't need my advice. He was perfect.

We, the audience, sat in silent attention, concentrating on listening to his voice as we read the words projected on the large drop-down screen behind him. Line by line, the words would appear so everyone could understand every word he said. More important than the words, however, was the hush that fell upon us as we felt the warmth of his spirit speaking to our own. Imagine my brother humbly reading the following words through the voice of a struggling body, but in a soul that stands tall, straight and strong:

Brothers and Sisters, it’s good to be here today. This is my first sacrament talk so I hope you’ll be patient with me as I talk about patience.

I think that all of us at times become impatient either with others, with ourselves, or with our own situation.

President Monson said, “Our problem is that we often expect instantaneous solutions… forgetting that frequently the heavenly virtue of patience is required.”

Does being patient mean that we just sit around and wait for something to happen?

President Uchtdorf said that patience is “the ability to put our desires on hold for a time.” But it is not “passive resignation, nor is it failing to act because of our fears.”

“Patience means to abide in faith, knowing that sometimes it is in the waiting rather than in the receiving that we grow most.”

In Hebrews we read, “Let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.” (Heb. 12: 1-2)

It seems like God has a personal education plan for each one of us, tailored to us individually and designed for our best good. But we don’t always recognize that, do we? Mother Theresa once said: “I know the Lord won’t give me more than I can handle. I just wish He didn’t trust me so much.”

I hope you’ll be patient when you’re talking with me. Some people with cerebral palsy have to take a little longer to say the words that we want to say. It’s not that we don’t understand you, it’s just that our words have to go a different route to be expressed than yours do.

Back to patience- Can you think of times when it was hard for you to wait patiently? We pray and pray for something we really feel we need, or want but it doesn’t happen. Perhaps later what we want will happen, or it may never happen. The Lord knows when, or if, we need what we want. We need to have patience and trust in the Lord that He loves us and wants only that which is the best for us. Elder Maxwell once wrote that too much opening of the oven door and the cake falls.May we all increase in patience and faith,

I pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen


  1. i would have LOVED to have been there for don's first talk! perhaps this will be the catalyst for more of his thoughts. i'm sure he could easily fill a book with very insightful comments! i love you, don!

  2. I was so glad I got to be in your sacrament meeting that day. It was a beautiful talk, full of the Spirit. I looked for you after the meeting was over so I could say hello, but you had already left and we were leaving to drive back home.