My wife and I were at the local What-a-Burger the other night to grab a bite after a long day. As we sat waiting for our meal to be brought over to our table a couple of young men came in off the street to order at the front counter. Maybe you’ve seen the style of attire and can explain the reason for having his pants pulled down so far everyone could see his dark print boxer shorts. He couldn’t walk two steps without having to hold up his britches; not only silly looking but inefficient to boot.
I wanted to tell him how dumb he looked; but thought better of it. Had nobody explained to this young man how to dress in public or the importance of putting your best foot forward?
This evening we attended the Saturday adult session of Stake Conference and listened to a young woman who’d taken the long route towards accepting the Gospel. She explained how she’d made many poor choices along the way and had gotten to that point in life where she recognized the need to chose; either work towards living the way the Lord wanted or go back to the lifestyle she’d had for quite some time.
She’d broken off a relationship with a young man who, as she put it, “didn’t wish to journey with her down the Gospel path” and yet he continued to show an interest in her. He continued to ask her out and never stopped calling her on the phone. One evening he called and she relented, telling him to come over. When she opened the door he was wearing a t-shirt with the words “Hell Bound” printed on the front; he’d chosen poorly which made her decision much easier.
What we wear defines us; no different than whom we associate with, the music we listen to, the type of entertainment we indulge or the books we read. I automatically reflected upon Douglas Callister’s talk, Your Refined Heavenly Home , which made an indelible mark on my mind as to the nature of man.
“Refinement in speech is reflected not only in our choice of words but also in the things we talk about. There are those who always speak of themselves, and they are either insecure or proud. There are those who always speak of others. They are usually very boring. There are those who speak of stirring ideas, compelling books, and inspiring doctrine. These are the few who make their mark in this world. The subjects discussed in heaven are not trifling or mundane. They are sublime beyond our most extended imagination. We will feel at home there if we are rehearsed on this earth in conversing about the refined and noble, clothing our expressions in well-measured words.”
Later, while someone else spoke, I heard, “we live far beneath our privileges”. I missed the reference as my ears were not tuned in; perhaps my mind was wandering and only caught those few words. I missed who’d originally been credited with the quote; but had enough to look it up on the computer. It came from Brigham Young and has been quoted often over the years.
“There is no doubt, if a person lives according to the revelations given to God’s people, he may have the Spirit of the Lord to signify to him his will, and to guide and to direct him in the discharge of his duties, in his temporal as well as his spiritual exercises. I am satisfied, however, that in respect, we live far beneath our privileges.” (Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. and arr. by John A. Widtsoe, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co. 1973, p. 32; emphasis added.)
In my mind the idea of the young man with no clue how to present himself in public resurfaced; if only he knew who he was, really. I think it was from a Zig Ziglar motivational talk many years ago where he’d present an idea or question and then add emphasis by closing with, “really”; “Do you know who you are, really?” I can hear that familiar voice, a touch of laughter as he baited the hook, “really?”
Couple that thought with the young woman who’d finally realized who she was; a child of God with promised blessings. Your agency determines which steps you take all along the way; do we live far beneath our privileges or have we determined to live according to the commandments and covenants we’ve made which lead to blessings beyond our wildest dreams?
Once you realize who you are, really; it’s time to live the life you were intended to live. Don’t settle for mediocrity; aim higher or, as the poet Emerson reminded us, “Hitch your wagon to a star”.
The Moral Liberal associate editor, T.F. Stern, is a retired City of Houston police officer, self-employed locksmith, and gifted political and social commentator. His popular and insightful blog, T.F. Sterns Rantings, has been up and at it since January of 2005.