Sunday, September 11, 2016


I was recently reading in an AARP publication an article about happiness. (I have now been qualified to receive their materials for almost three decades) One of the findings, according to the researcher they were quoting was that seniors are the happiest of any age group.

They gave several reasons: First, seniors had found those things in life which bring them happiness and were spending the majority of their time involved in those activities and with those people. Second, they had ventured into a new activity which caused them to keep their brains and bodies active. Third, they had come to realize their happiest moments were when they were trying to serve, strengthen or satisfy the needs of others.

As I was examining my own advanced stage of life, (being well qualified to be called ‘senior’, although I prefer ‘experienced’), I realized one of the reasons I live in a perpetual state of contentment or, if you wish, happiness, is that I spend most of my 24/7 with Kathleen who will be my eternal companion. However, the thought which worked as a springboard to get me started on what looks like it will turn out to be one of those multiple episode Thoughts, was the idea that starting a new meaningful activity brought a great deal of happiness to those of advanced age.

I am absolutely certain those dedicated English Teachers who
suffered through my creative spelling and grammar contributions during my schooling years, would be shocked to hear the meaningful activity of my experienced years turned out to be writing. Kathleen, who faithfully edits and corrects my weekly Thoughts, shares empathy in every way with those faithful teachers who gave me their best efforts without achieving the best of results.

Anyway, since retiring from full time employment with the Church Education System after teaching seminary for four years in the Early Morning Program and 44 years as a full time employee I have ventured into the following activities, all of which have involved extensive time spent writing.

These activities include among other things:

Five years of teaching an adult religion class, for which, unlike the materials which were provided by CES during my employed years, I had to organize and write all my outlines.

During the last few years I have been writing my life’s history which I accurately call my ‘guessoirs’. Kathleen, as you might have suspected, has been a very important partner is this project. I am pretty much finished with the project, but I don't know how to end it since I am still alive and doing.

Starting in June of 2009 I wrote what would eventually become my weekly Thoughts for a Sabbath Day. With today’s current effort they now number 321 and I have published the first 300 in three volumes entitled Thoughts for 100 Sabbath Days.

In April of 2014, I wrote my first Life's Lessons Learned ‘saying’. I don't claim that they are profound, but just random short thoughts which come to me and I jot down. As a case in point, among the first of my Life's Lessons Learned I wrote was, ‘Always apply sports cream after going to the bathroom not before!!’ This morning I posted the 548th of these short sayings on Face Book and I have an equal number which I have written which are yet to be posted.

Periodically, one of my friends will send me a note, gently reminding me that a saying or Thought for a Sabbath Day I had posted wasn't original and even were so considerate as to provide me with a quote or a source from someone who lived in another decade, century or millennium. I am always appreciative of their reminders and contributions and I usually write them a short note confessing the reality that I may never have had a truly original thought in my entire life.

The Thought which I wish to write about during the next few weeks, is that no one who has ever lived a mortal life has ever taught that which was not first learned or known by another, that which was not based upon another’s teaching, or created that which was not founded by another, or possessed that which was not discovered or produced by another.

Therefore, if it be true that we are all receivers long before we are capable of giving, it would behoove us to be careful what and from whom we open our minds and hearts for proffered gifts.

It would likewise be of great benefit for us seek those who we allow to have input in our growth, who will build and elevate us rather than take away the advancement which we may have previously made.

We would be wise if we made those people our mentors who were ahead of us on the growth ladder. One of the mentors who has a spot high on my personal list, Hugh Nibley, was once approached by a student after a lecture who challenge him by saying he had never heard the things brother Nibley had spoken about. Brother Nibley, quickly quipped, ‘If you had already heard these things, why would you come to listen to me prattle.’

We must never become deceived into thinking that we have obtained sufficient understanding or that we know all there is to be known. When I was doing some circuit instruction to adults in the cow counties of Nevada, I was confronted with the reality that some of those who attended the classes had difficulty with some of the concepts being taught because they had become overly comfortable with the repetitious lessons they had heard over and over again from each other. It was gratifying when those who wanted to break out of their comfortable cycle would open up and be willing to do some painful and enlightening stretching.

There, I have amplified my reputation of having lengthy and sometimes confusing introductions.

(To be continued)

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