Matt’s Legacy

I’ve been meaning to write something on this subject for awhile now, but I hadn’t yet been able to find something that I considered a suitable way to present it. But now, I figure that I can’t put it off any longer.

This week, my beloved grandfather, 94 years of age, passed away. He had a stroke about a month and a half ago, and had not been able to return home since. He had been improving until struck by an infection. The final blow was when he got pnemonia and refused treatment. Of course, it had been very difficult for him, not being able to walk, talk (& be understood, that is), etc. But he held on long enough to give all of us a chance to visit him.

Today was his funeral, and it was spectacular. I must admit that the knowledge that I have as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has been incredibly helpful in this respect. I mean, there isn’t much better than knowing that I’ll be able to see him again (and get to know him better than I ever had a chance to here) sooner than I may think. God’s plan for us is perfect.

“There is no tragedy in death, but only in sin.” – Pres. Spencer W. Kimball (link)

How true is that? Death is a necessary part of life. It is, and always has been, completely unavoidable (Except in the case of people like Moses and whatnot… But I’m not quite at his level of spirituality). It is no tragedy in a life well-lived, where the person has been faithful to the Lord’s commandments.

And in closing, I’d like to include a song with words by Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley:

“What is this thing that men call death,
This quiet passing in the night?
‘Tis not the end but genesis
Of better worlds and greater light.

“O God, touch Thou my aching heart
And calm my troubled, haunting fears.
Let hope and faith, transcendent, pure,
Give strength and peace beyond my tears.

“There is no death, but only change,
With recompense for vict’ry won.
The gift of Him who loved all men,
The Son of God, the Holy One.”


The Wisdom of Drizzt

A little over a month ago, before school and other things took up my time, I asked my brother, “Do you know of a good book that I could read?”

After explaining that I wanted a novel, not something non-fictional, he suggested the Icewind Dale Trilogy, by R.A. Salvatore.

This trilogy is very enjoyable just to read; it also includes many well-thought statements about life itself. One of such is an article supposedly written by one of the characters, Drizzt Do’Urden. I would explain who he is and whatnot, but I don’t want to make this too long. Now, this article is about respect and its influence on our relationships with other people. I’ll include some excerpts of the comments and wisdom found therein.

“The world is full of ruffians. The world is full of people of good character. Both of these statements are true, I believe, because within most of the people I have known lies the beginning points of both seemingly disparate paths….

“Initial impressions are sometimes difficult to overcome, and sometimes become lasting, but beyond race and appearance and other things that we cannot control, I have learned that there are definite decisions that I can make concerning which reaction I will edge someone else toward.

“The key to it all, I believe, is respect.

“When I was in [a city] with [a friend], we crossed through a tavern full of ruffians, men who used their fists and weapons on an almost daily basis. Yet, another friend of mine…, often frequents such taverns, and rarely, very rarely, ever gets into so much as a verbal argument. Why is this? Why would … a man of some wealth, and a man of respectable society as well, not find himself immersed in brawls as regularly as the others? He often goes in alone, and stands quietly at the bar, but though he hardly says a word, he surely stands out among the more common patrons….

“What keeps [him] safe is his ability to show respect for anyone he meets. He is a man of charm, who holds well his personal pride. He grants respect at the outset of a meeting and continues that respect until the person forfeits it. This is very different than the way most people view the world. Most people insist that respect has to be earned, and with many, I have come to observe, earning it is no easy task! Many … demand that anyone desiring their friendship first earn their respect, and I can understand their point of view, and once believed that I held one similar….

“[He] takes the opposite approach, one of acceptance and one lacking initial judgement. This may seem a subtle alternative, but it most certainly is not. Would that the man be anointed a king, I say, for he has learned the secret of peace. When [he] enters a tavern of common peasant thugs, most within the place, and society at large, would view him as superior. And yet, in his interactions with these people, there is no air of superiority about the man at all. In his eyes and in his heart, he is among peers, among other intelligent creatures whose paths have led them to a different – and not better or worse – place than his own. And when [he] grants respect to men who would think nothing of cutting his heart out, he disarms them, he takes away whatever reason they might have found to fight with him….

“How rich is his life! How full of wonder and how wide of experience!”

Incredible. May I say so? I sincerely hope so. I hope that this has made a difference for you as it has for me. It seems to clear, and yet such a thing is so very difficult. To do so, one must put away his pride and judgement. And I know that I have not been even relatively near accomplishing that. But hopefully one day I will. Hopefully.